I continue to replay a conversation I had last evening with the mother of my daughter’s friend, at the friend’s graduation party.  I do not know this family all that well and hadn’t realized they aren’t Catholic, yet I felt a certain kinship as we talked when it became clear that their faith community fills the same central role in their life as ours does.  Dani was led to her college choice, a Christian university, through friends at their church.

“She’ll major in pastoral ministry and psychology.  Then she’ll probably go to seminary and become a youth pastor.  She’s always loved children,” was the reply to my query about future plans.  I had previously learned that Dani had been greatly moved by serving in an orphanage on a mission trip to Mexico with the church earlier in the summer and that she now works as a camp counselor.

Though she spoke matter-of-factly, the mom’s deep pleasure in her daughter’s life vision shone through, and the stark contrast with Catholicism pierced my heart most painfully, realizing that while our daughter also has many traits and talents for effective pastoring, that role is not available to her in our church.  It’s bewildering that these two incredible young women, both raised in religious families and active in their churches, face such divergent paths.   My response is much more sorrow than anger.  What would it be like to freely encourage my daughter to pursue ordained ministry?  For her path to realizing such a call to be clear and open?  I can hardly imagine, yet I will continue to ponder this in my ongoing inner struggle — stay or go?

Top photo by ValleeC
Bottom photo by stratoz
via Flickr under Creative Commons license