I almost forgot you were here earlier today when I found a piece and candy in my coat pocket. I did a mental fist-pump, said "score" to myself and was just about to unwrap the little beauty before I remembered my resolve to mortify my flesh for 40 days by denying it the sweets it most constantly craves.
I've been indulging some pretty bad eating habits all in the name of Postpartum and Breastfeeding, and made a plan a few weeks ago to use Lent as an opportunity to reset. You see, my resolve to diet and lose weight is so weak that I can't manage it at all without the help of Catholic Guilt.
But I know that Lenten Dieting is almost as bad as Missionary Dating (I tried that too once, and ended up being the one to convert. Oops!) so when I read Pope Francis's appeal to give up more than candy and booze I said, "don't worry Papa, I'm all over it."
You see, I've also been indulging in some pretty bad temper tantrums lately, all with the excuse that My Life Is Hard and I'm Entitled To Get Angry.
It takes me, no joke, 20 minutes to leave the house with my two children. Someone will invariably poop and require a new set of drawers. Then Johnny will have a freak out about getting his coat on because it means he has to put down his car for 2 seconds. Then Johnny will poke Trixie in the face while I'm getting my coat on and she will need some comforting. Then I will realize there are no diapers in the diaper bag. Then I can't find my keys. All the while the decibel level of my voice is soaring to new heights as I give vent to my frustrations.
And I deserve to get mad.
When Trixie is on her fifth night feeding, I deserve to get mad.
When my husband has to study all day Saturday and Sunday, I deserve to get mad.
When Johnny refuses to nap, I really deserve to get mad.
And you know what? I like getting mad. I like my righteous indignation because it makes me feel like I am the victim, I'm the one who deserves justice, I'm right when everyone else in the world is wrong. And I'm going to get angry about it. What else could I do? NOT get angry?
Actually, I've known for a long time that I need to not get angry. That instead of giving into anger I need to practice the fruits of the Spirit. I've even had a little note card with the fruits of the Spirit printed on it hanging on my bathroom mirror for, oh I don't know, about a year. Needless to say, I still need some work.
So for Lent I am giving up my anger. And like a gentle "yes, this is good" from the Holy Spirit, I read these words in yesterday's first reading.
"Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment."
How patient and slow to anger has the Lord been with me? I am called to do the same with those around me, starting with my own family.
Anyone else feeling the need to give up more than candy and booze?
keep in touch!