The Life of a Clergy Kid

Last week I whined about how homesick I am and why I have chosen to travel across the country to work for the Church.  


While this really hasn’t been too hard for me (like I mentioned last week, I’ve got a pretty cool set up here), people do make sacrifices for the things they love.  At some point, we all have to sacrifice in pursuit of something, or for someone.  Parents sacrifice themselves for their children, spouses sacrifice for each other, I sacrifice my dignity every year at camp.  


But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the sacrifices Clergy make for the Church.


I was too young to remember my father’s ordination; my dad has been a Priest as far back as I can remember.  And there were a lot of times when that sucked, at least from my perspective as a kid.


I haven’t been able to spend Father’s Day together in as long as I can remember.  We don’t get to celebrate Christmas on Christmas morning, and Easter Sunday has just been my sisters and me most of my life.  Growing up, family vacations were few and far between, and often interrupted.


My dad has missed countless birthdays, he’s had to congratulate major life events with phone calls, and the past two summers he has been gone more than he has been home.


That’s the life of a Priest.


And honestly, as rough as it’s been, my family has been really lucky: I know more than my fair share of clergy kids who have moved every couple of years their entire lives, a struggle we haven’t had to endure.  


Sacrifices like that are really tough.  No matter how old you get.  


I have a hard time remembering (even now as an adult) that we all give up a lot for the things we love.  


I want to be selfish and spend Father’s Day with my dad.  I also want to be selfish and have a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.  But I work to remember that the sacrifices I make, the sacrifices we all make, are for a greater purpose.  


And we are all part of something greater than ourselves.  We are the body of Christ.  That isn’t always an easy road, and we can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel.


But it’s there.  And it’s more important than Father’s Day, or my cup of coffee.    


When you’re a kid at Disneyland and your father spends most of his time on the phone, all you can think about is how much you wish you were getting that attention.  Now, as an adult, I can realize that I’m not the only one who needs my father’s attention.  The parish that he serves does, too.


And as hard as it is for me to admit, that’s more important than my trip to Disneyland.


My father is my favorite person (sorry everyone else), and he has never not been there for me when I needed him.  And the times when he’s missed events or needed to step out for a phone call were never because he didn’t want to be with us, nor because he didn’t love us.  


My dad just loves his parish, and knows that they need him as much as my sisters and I do.  Sometimes they need him more than we do.  


It was really hard to see that as a kid.  Now that I’ve grown up (a bit) and developed a (slightly more) mature perspective, I can see that better.  I can see the beauty that can grow out of our sacrifices, just like I can see the Resurrection that follows the Cross.  


Faith isn’t easy.  Salvation takes work, struggle, and sacrifice.  


The road to the Resurrection goes straight through the Cross.


For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

Luke 9:24


Over the past few months, it’s been really disappointing to miss some of the major things that are happening in the lives of my family and friends.  Not moving my youngest sister into her dorm was particularly rough.  But now, as I’m becoming more aware of why I chose the path I chose (or maybe why God chose me for it?), I’m also more aware of why my father chose his path, or why God chose him (and us, his family) for it.


And I am more grateful than I have ever been for the people who work so hard for our Church and the sacrifices they and their families make on our behalf.  


I know that it isn’t easy.  But these sacrifices and struggles are part of our life in Christ.  

And that’s a beautiful thing, even if it is hard to see in the moment.  



Charissa is a Young Adult Ministries Coordinator for Y2AM.  Charissa grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah where she studied political science at the University of Utah.  She enjoys sunshine, the mountains and snowcones.  Charissa currently lives in New York City.