If I close my eyes, I can see his face as he says these words, “They will tell you, ‘Just wait till you get back to the real world.’ But I am here to say you have been living in the real world. This, this is real.” It was the last night of a amazing week-long mission trip with a tremendous group of people. It was heaven. My friend Kris Walters was giving what professional youth ministers sometimes call the “go” talk. It was the talk that was supposed to inspire us to leave the mission trip and literally “go” back to our worlds without going back to they way we used to live. It was a call to conversion. It was motivational. It was a push out of the nest.
And Kris’ was the best “go” talk I have ever heard. He was saying that though the world we are returning to is broken, fallen, imperfect, that doesn’t make it more “real.” Living in a loving, supportive, and fun community full of people who really do love God and actually pray is as much a possibility for our world as is the dark and despairing evening news. In other words, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the Good News” (Mark 1:15).
I believe in the Good News. And because I believe, my understanding of what is “real” has changed so much. Yeah, my kids still barf in my bed when they are sick. I still say the wrong things all the time. People I love still die, and despite my best efforts, I am a selfish jerk.
I try to the best of my ability to see reality through my faith. I mostly fall short, but when I am able to do this, I realize how blessed and lucky I am. C. S. Lewis says it like this;
I believe in God as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
I am trying to see the real world through my Catholic faith, and selfishly, I am writing to get better at this. I am reading the other entries on this blog to find out what is real for my friends and how their faith is helping them see the kingdom of God. Hopefully we will have a few laughs along the way (maybe nothing more real than that).
At the end of the day I tell God I am sorry, I thank him for the abundant outpouring of blessings in my life, and I ask that he grant me the grace to be a better husband, father, friend and youth minister. This is my real, and it is good news.