Firm Foundation

At a crisis point in my life I went to see a counsellor. It proved to be a great experience and a turning point in my life. After a life of pure obedience to others – my parents, my teachers, the priests, the Church, the religious order I had joined – I came into possession of my own self-authority. From now on, instead of simply doing as I was told, I would now be the prime mover in my life and its choices. It was about time! I was forty-four years of age.


Looking back over my life now – I am approaching 76 years – I see how blessed I have been in my mother and father and siblings. I ‘lost’ my family early on, when, at eleven years of age, I went away to a junior seminary. From the age of eleven until I was twenty-four, I barely saw family at all. But once I left seminary and gained some semblance of independent movement, I made sure to reconnect with my dearest relations. I reclaimed them for myself: in particular, my mother and my father.


Every summer when holiday time came round I went home to my parents and went off on holiday with them to the west of Ireland and my mother’s home place, a place I associate with complete freedom and complete happiness. It was a place set apart and kept apart from the humdrum run of my life, as I tried to make sense of being a priest.


This morning I heard myself talking to myself in my father’s voice, urging myself on, encouraging myself on to the issues of the day. My mother and father, those foundational persons in my life, are still a constant presence spiritually, and their love and their care for me stretches across the years, now today, long after they are gone.


Many people do not have this source of power in their lives. Perhaps a parent dies early before any mutual knowing can happen. Sadly, too, many parents separate and divorce and children have to cope with that. But despite these sad occurrences, the truth remains that if we can still be connected to our parents and they still care for us, then we still have a sure foundation of love and connection that will be a stronghold for us, a mainstay through all the changes of our journey through life.


Brian Fahy

8 November 2022

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