If it is possible for me to break my Lenten sacrifices before I leave the church grounds, I will do it every time. It's that aforementioned rebellious nature. Therefore, I try to construct sacrifices I can't goof up on while the ashes are still snowing off my forehead! Most of my plans for this year fall into the latter category but as a family, we took on "bear wrongs patiently." (In case you can't decide on a sacrifice check out this Lenten Resolution Flow Chart!)
Since I made threats to all three little children at one point or another during Ash Wednesday Mass, thus goofing up before we even got to the Eucharist, it's safe to say this is a sacrifice tailor made for me. My personal spin on it is "refrain from criticism." Of course I have to correct and train my children, but the criticism is not needed. Criticism is a bad habit. I plan to break the back of that habit during Lent.
It's my training ground, for certain. The only place that tests me more than church is the ballpark. Safety is a huge issue at the ballpark when older girls are playing. The only place you are really safe from foul balls is sitting on the bleachers. Therefore, I cruelly insist that my little ones "sit" when the batter is up. Since 90% of all the other little ones at the ball park are allowed to run around nilly willy, this is excruciating for my Littles. I say over and over, "Go to your seat," "Please sit on your bottom," or "Where are you supposed to be?" I make it okay through the game but the minute we head to the parking lot for a sandwich, all my patience drains through my shoes.
Saturday was no exception. I was alone with the kids as Paul was away being inspired by Matthew Kelly and Alli was at a discernment retreat at the Cathedral. As I corrected Tinker, my tone turned sharp and I said rhetorically, "What is wrong with you?" She smiled and ran off but The Blitz stopped dead in his tracks and turned around, an encouraging look on his face.
"Bear wrongs patiently, Mom."
Chastised, I said, "Oh, you're right buddy. I need to bear wrongs patiently."
"That means, 'don't be mean,'right, Mama?"
"You're right again, buddy."
"K Mom. Well just try again, okay?"
I thank God for my children. They are my best teachers as well as my greatest joy. I greatly needed that reminder about our family sacrifice, but even more, I needed the reminder to "just try again." Lent is about making perfect my soul, but I am not going to be perfect getting there. The prophet Isaiah had it right, we need that little child to lead us!
(Photo credit: Lily Parish)