Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Sweet Potato, my 12 year old, came barreling out of the bathroom this morning shouting, "this is one of the worst weeks of my life!"

Me:  Sweetie, you realize it is only Tuesday.
Sweet Potato:  Ugh!

After inquiring the problem, Sweet Potato says that for starters, he had a cold shower because Honey Bunches used up all the hot water.

Me:  I know it's hard to do, but why don't you offer it up?
Sweet Potato:  I don't know how to do that.
Me:  Well, first think of all the people in this world who don't have clean water, let alone a warm shower to take.  Be grateful that you have the resources to keep your body clean and healthy.  Then, you say a prayer and tell Jesus that you're offering this small suffering up to him for all those who don't have this luxury.
Sweet Potato:  Well that's not the only thing that is making this a bad week.

He then shared with me that he scored very low on one of his tests.  It happened to be in Religion.

Sweet Potato:  The questions weren't even fair.  I bet you couldn't even get them right.
Me:  So did you ask your teacher to explain the answers to you?
Sweet Potato:  No.
Me:  So how did the rest of your class do on the test?

Hanging his head, Sweet Potato answered, "I scored the lowest in the class."

Me: Have you ever failed a test?
Sweet Potato:  No.
Me: Would you say that you're embarrassed by your score?
Sweet Potato:  Yes.
Me: Do you think it's fair to blame your teacher on something you didn't understand?
Sweet Potato:  No.
Me:  Do you really think the test and its questions were unfair?
Sweet Potato:  No.
Me:  Sweet Potato, you are a smart kid.  Your Dad and I don't expect you to get perfect scores.  In this situation, your score isn't the issue as much as the way you're choosing to deal with it.   Never place blame on someone or something else, when you need to take responsibility for your part.

Sweet Potato:  I'm mad at one of my friends too because he wanted to talk to me when I didn't want to talk.

This poor kid really is having a bad week!

Me:  And why didn't you want to talk?
Sweet Potato:  Because my team got annihilated at recess during our football game.
Me:  So did you tell your friend you were in a bad mood and you would talk to him later?
Sweet Potato:  No.
Me:  Do you think your friend was just concerned about you and wanted to help?
Sweet Potato:  Maybe.
Me:  Should we call it a day and just go back to bed?
Sweet Potato: (With a little smile on his face) No.

Part of being a parent is to help our kids keep life in perspective.  Their problems may seem like "no big deal" to us, but to them, they look daunting and impossible.  As easy as it was for me to give quick solutions to Sweet Potato, I don't always heed my own advice.

This Lenten season has been one of a struggle for me.  It has nothing to do with my penance and alms giving, but prayerfully, some of the days have been more difficult than others.  My mind just doesn't shut off during times that I am desiring reflection and quiet.  There are some outside challenges in my life too, that I rely on friends and family to help me see the bigger picture.  Along with that perspective often comes a very scary reality of surrender; to be able to let go and let be.  It means giving up control and stepping aside to allow others, allow God, to take over.  It means exposing my vulnerability and reliance on others and on God. Not being in control means having faith.

These 40 days have me working on surrender; in looking at the bigger picture and not doing my will, but rather God's will for my life.  It has less to do with the small sacrifices I attempt to make and more about growing closer to Christ on this journey.

I continue to keep my Gratitude journal which, in our priest's words, has kept "my heart buoyant."  At the end of each day I can't help but smile about the things my kids and my husband say and do, or the kind deeds shown my way.  It certainly helps me keep life in perspective.

If you set your heart aright
and stretch out your hands toward him,

If iniquity is in your hand, remove it,
and do not let injustice dwell in your tent,

Surely then you may lift up your face in innocence;
you may stand firm and unafraid.

For then you shall forget your misery,
like water that has ebbed away you shall regard it.

Then your life shall be brighter than the noonday;
its gloom shall become like the morning,

And you shall be secure, because there is hope;
you shall look round you and lie down in safety;

you shall lie down and no one will disturb you.
Many shall entreat your favor,

but the wicked, looking on, shall be consumed with envy.
Escape shall be cut off from them,
their only hope their last breath.

Job 11:13-20 

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