June 9, 2010
The Changing Relationship of Father and Daughter
by guest blogger, Karina Fabian
The first time I got critiqued was by my dad, Steve Lumbert. I'd made a book cover and misspelled "Bible." How frustrating to have to redo the whole thing! But I wanted it done right, so I re-did it.
Thirty-five years later, my dad and I switched roles in a similar drama as we wrote our first book together, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life.
My dad loves to teach. He taught me to read. He taught me to repair a house. He even taught me why cars don't really blow up like they did on CHiPs. But he also wanted me to think for myself. I remember the moment he stepped out of the teaching role: I had called home for advice on a used car. After the fourth of fifth time he asked me "Well, what do you think?" I shouted, "I'll tell you what I think after I get your opinion!" In the end, I made up my own mind and had mechanic assess the car. Turned out to be a good decision--and a great car.
I graduated, went into the Air Force and fell in love. I didn't ask any advice--just announced it in a rush of joy. Ironically my dad, a Colorado State Patrolman, had met Rob a couple of years earlier--when he'd given him a speeding ticket. He'd liked Rob even then, he said. I left the Air Force to become a full-time mom and writer.
Then my dad did an extraordinary thing; a late convert to the Catholic faith, he became a deacon. Since I was a writer, he wanted my opinion of his homilies. This proved a difficult transition. It was one thing to have a mind of my own; quite another to apply that mind to my father's new line of work. The first few times didn't go well--he wanted affirmation; I wanted to treat him as if he had my level of experience.
Over time, however, I learned to be more gentle in my critiques; and he, more open-minded in considering them. As a result, when I was asked about writing a small book of faith stories and lessons called Why God Matters, I thought it would make a great father-daughter project.
It was a challenge, of course. These are no 15-minute homilies. Our stories had to touch hearts and get to the point fast. We also had a tight deadline. I had to trust that he could take the tough criticism. It was a good thing we worked over the Internet instead of in person. Later, Dad told me how frustrated he'd get as I returned yet another bleeding manuscript with the demand, "What is your main message? Why should readers care?"
But just like when he corrected my spelling, we both knew the project was important enough to do right. He rose to the occasion, not only giving his stories focus and emotion, but also suggesting we add Catechism quotes to enhance the lessons. I have a greater appreciation for the Catechism thanks to our work.
Why God Matters tells stories in our lives that strengthened our relationships with God, but writing the book itself strengthened our relationship with each other. From Daddy-Daughter to writing team, it's been a fun journey, and I'm eager to see where we go next.
About Karina Fabian
Karina (Lumbert) Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. As a busy mother of four, she finds some of her strongest encounters with God’s love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day. Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but ahs settled into writing fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporates the principles of faith-filled living. Her web site is http://www.karinafabian.com/ and her blog is at http://fabianspace.blogspot.com.
About Deacon Steven Lumbert
Deacon Steve Lumbert officially converted to Catholicism in 1988, but had been a “practicing” Catholic long before that. He met his lovely and loving wife, Socorro, while sercing in Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Puerto Rico in 1966. They raised their daughters, Karina and Regina, in the faith. Steve spent 30 years as a Colorado State Trooper, but retired when God called him to the diaconate. Currently, he serves the Diocese of Pueblo as Associate Director of Deacon Formation.
About Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Many times one sees Roman Catholicism explained using either closely reasoned theology or an appeal to ancient writers of the Church. While both are legitimate approaches, the average reader looking to explore the faith is often left cold. In their collaboration, Why God Matters, Deacon Steven Lumbert and his daughter, Karina Lumbert Fabian, delineate the Catholic Faith as experienced by a pair of average, everyday people like the great majority who make up the 24% of Americans who share this religion.
In the stories of this pair, one see both ways people come to Catholicism, by birth (“cradle Catholics”) and by conversion. Their descriptions of their separate paths thankfully lack the religiosity of the all too common ‘and then a miracle takes place’ school of religious experience. Rather than blasts of light, fiery swords, spiritual fistfights, and angelic choirs, theirs is the long religious slog of the everyday. The effort that one must put out each day in the long trek to Heaven.
What is Catholicism really like? One would be hard-put to find a better verbal painting of the faith so many call their own.”