This is the second of a four-part entry written by “Anonymous”.
Read Part 1 here.

“Got any tips for being a saint?”

When my daughter was little, back when we only had half of the number of children we have now, she was a sparkly-eyed, enthusiastic, outgoing girl. She read early. Was very verbal. Had a flair for the dramatic. Loved people. All people. She was beautiful. From the beginning of our courtship, my husband and I have been undeservedly blessed with the friendships of many good, strong and faithful priests. I don’t know why we are so blessed to call so many good men of God ‘friends’. (I always joke that it’s because God must know we need the extra help!) It was during a visit of one of these dear priest friends that she, unsolicited and in all sincerity asked him “Father…do you have any tips for becoming a saint?” She was about 6. Tips. I still smile and shake my head when I think of her innocence and clear-eyed openness that moved her to genuinely ask such a question.

I recall in about 8th grade, she would wake early to come share in our quiet prayer time before her day began. She loved ballet and art and I thought, being a sister in this family. I suppose I felt like we were doing our job well, all was working as planned in our child-rearing endeavors. I never would have foreseen the person she has become now.

“I’m living a queer lifestyle.”

Which brings to mind that wound.

I recently listened to a friend recount his time in a college class he is currently taking as an adult learner. To be sure, being surrounded by today’s average undergraduate student would make anyone 40 or older feel a bit alien. But when he commented with no lack of derision on his younger classmates, “those people, tattooed and pierced, the ones with blue hair…” I immediately thought…’you mean my daughter?’ Yes, she is now one of “those” people. She’s in “that” camp.

There’s that wound again.

Not only is she not practicing her faith now, zero desire for knowing any “tips” about achieving sainthood, but she is now grouped with “those” people. Those others who…and now you fill in the blank. No, I’ll fill it in for you. She is living the trans life. She has left her beautiful name we gave her, chucked it out, for a gender neutral one. She speaks the name ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with scorn. She doesn’t call herself ‘sister’, but rather ‘sibling’. She wouldn’t like me calling her “she”. And it has left a gaping, jagged hole in my mother’s heart. Not only for me, but for the chaos her choice is causing for her brothers and sisters. It’s a double wound then, and one I feel I must carry for my children’s sakes. I watch. And I feel helpless.

What is it about sin – this sin in particular – that has left me paralyzed? I’m caught flat-footed. I can’t act; indeed, I’m not sure I really could act. She is an adult. If she were a teen, it would be different. But she seemed to slip away from me so quickly and quietly that I feel caught unawares. She has gone away from me in such a profound way. She is dead in a deep sense. And I don’t have a body to bury.

Read Part 3

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The opinions and experiences expressed in each blog entry in “The Upper Room” belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage International, Inc. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.