It’s Ash Wednesday and time to decide what I’m giving up for Lent this year. Many times, I’ve given up chocolate, Sprite, or the radio in my car, but this year is different. I sat in Mass this afternoon with ashes on my forehead and thought, “I need to give up the things that keep me from hearing the Divine within me and reaching the Divine in others.”
So, here it goes:
I give up comparing my behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reels (Thanks, Becky! I love that analogy.) I don’t believe that the perfect pictures on facebook and posts about gourmet dinners and cozy family snuggles by a roaring fire are the norm for most moms most days. Tonight we ate quick cook tortellini and there was no fire, but Caroline did roar and throw herself on the kitchen floor if that counts for anything! I give up seeing and hearing snippets of other people’s lives and thinking that somehow we don’t measure up. (I may, however, start a movement and post pictures of my messy house, Caroline having a tantrum at Target, or my stack of pants that still don’t fit no matter how far I run. I think it would be a breath of fresh air for facebooking moms everywhere!) I give up trying to make every moment comparable to your “post worthy” moments.
I give up being critical of the person who annoys me more than anyone on this Earth. For some reason she drives me completely insane but I’m not proud to say that I’ve stooped to her level in response and became something I really don’t like. I’m done talking about it. I’m done worrying about it. I give up “stooping.”
I give up waiting for someone else to fix a broken relationship. I can pray about it. I can work towards healing. I can put myself out there just a little more and seek forgiveness and compassion. I can offer the same. I give up being hurt.
I give up stressing over being the perfect mom. I’m not. I’m just not, but most days I do a pretty darn good job. I give up worrying about whether or not I’m doing enough, teaching her enough, or making the right decisions. Instead, for forty days and forty nights (and hopefully longer), I’m going to be fully present. I’m going to have another tea party, another pretend dinner from her kitchen, work another puzzle, and sing another round of “Wheels on the Bus.” I’m going to be engaged with her, meet her at her level, and soak it up. One day, I’ll long for another tea party or puzzle. She’ll be heading out with her friends, and I’ll miss my little girl. I give up allowing these precious moments to be overshadowed by a fear of inadequacy. God chose me to raise her. He must have thought I could do it. I give up doubting that plan.
Not my car radio as usual,
but those things that keep me at arm’s length from the Divine among us.
That’s what I give up!