I was born and raised a Catholic.
I'm sure I've alluded to that fact now and again on this blog, most likely poking fun at some of the dogma that is stereotypical of the Catholic Church. The truth is I joke about it because I've had a hard time with it the last 5 years or so. Mostly, to be blunt, a result of the combination of the child-abuse scandal and the church's views on same sex marriage. It's easy to lose faith when there's so much hate, so many excuses, and so much intolerance.
If any one single thing has restored my faith in Faith itself, and in the church community- it's been my dad's heart attack. It's hard to not look at, and admire, someone with as much faith as he has. He's a man of quiet faith.. we never really talked about it outside of school and/or church, so I never realized how deeply held his beliefs were until later in life.
My dad works as a custodian at our church and the affiliated grade school, where I went. (I don't know why I feel the need to tell you this, likely because I'm proud and defensive of my dad: he was a fiber optical engineer at Qwest for 25 years and was let go in favor of a younger employee about 10 years ago- he jokingly calls this his retirement job). Our family has been a part of the church for as long as I can remember, but my dad has remained a more integral part of it with these younger generations since my brother and I have been gone, through his job.
I thought I knew all my dad's friends. I truly did. He doesn't lead a wild social life, he's pretty low key, so I thought I knew them all. I was wrong. The number of emails I've received from people asking to help, many of whom I don't recognize at all, is astounding. These are largely, mostly, church people.
The point of this specific post though... stewardship. My dad is a member of the church's Men's Club, and they reached out pretty early on to let me know if we needed anything, to just ask. We haven't had as much work as we've had people asking, so a few of the guys asked about donating money. I was VERY hesitant to accept any, because truthfully his medical bills are covered by insurance for the most part, minus a decent sized deductible... and we think (and are in the process of finding out) he's got some decent disability pay, so he'll really be "ok" through all the time off he'll need. One of the officers reminded me though, and it's good to be reminded, sometimes people just really need to feel like they've helped. So, I set up one of those fundraiser websites for my dad, thinking it'd be nice if we could at least cover his deductible for him, if anything. Aside from emailing it to the Men's Club, and sending the link to a small chain of family on Facebook whom I'd been keeping updated on my dad, I haven't promoted it at all.
The email with the link went out to the Men's Club this morning,... a mere 7 hours ago. We're nearly halfway to our "goal", the deductible amount, already. I'm blown away. I don't know how to separate whether this is a testament to my dad, and what an incredible person he truly is, or a testament to our Catholic Church, and how much they support their own-- and knowing my dad I'm not sure they can be separated.
I do know that this has helped restore my faith. My faith in humanity, in people.. and in Faith itself.