Updated: October 22, 2019
40 Reflections #35: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
Throughout this Lenten Season I’ve listened to Dynamic Catholic, a daily epistle filled with valuable lessons. A recent reflection titled, Why Worry?, echoed a discussion I had with my daughter relating to the common stressors of being a teenager: driving permits, GPA’s, friends, homework, finishing a race after crashing on your mountain bike, missing a ground ball in baseball, choosing homework over swim practice, projects, tests, loneliness, having a car, dating, not dating, college…the challenge, we agreed, lies in separating the worries we can control from those we must simply let go.
If only it were that easy. My worry pattern goes like this…
As a young mother,
I worried I wasn’t playing with our kids enough. Of course in my mom-mind, this absence of parental-child time would lead them to wading through the quicksand of depression someday. So when they were four, five and six years old, I decided I would devote 15 minutes of play with each child immediately after their naps. I was confident they would grow up reflecting fondly on the dedicated time we shared playing Candy Land, trains or dolls. I set my timer and play began!
My plan lasted about 3 minutes. Everyone awoke at the same time and all toys merged as Thomas the Train bulldozed down the Gumdrop Pass, while “doll” swaddled in her blue and pink striped hospital blanket was laid down to nap smack in the middle of the Peppermint Forest.
Shockingly, my playtime schedule went a little better than my “let’s practice going to church during the week so we don’t look like a train wreck family every Sunday” idea. That story is for another day.
As a daughter,
I worry I don’t visit or call my parents enough. For years, Mom and Dad would traverse from the west to DC, Mexico, Luxembourg, you name it. Wherever their daughters lived, they visited…because “You do for family” as Dad always says. Now, for my octogenarian parents, traveling is not as easy, nor as frequent. So it’s my turn to visit my loving folks. And call. Always call.
As a mom,
I will always worry about everything when it comes to our growing children. Over-scheduling, too much homework, not eating enough, too little sleep, sugar, phones, texts, mean girls, cyber yuckiness, the list Never. Ever. Ends.
So when I stumbled across this quote,
“We need to care less about whether our children are academically gifted and more about whether they sit with the lonely kid in the cafeteria.”
I first posted it on the wall in our bathroom (captive audience) for my kids to absorb.
Then, I bent it around my mind and refocused my worry lens on serving others. I asked my youngest son, “Do you ever see anyone sitting alone in the cafeteria?” Knowing where I was going with this (plus he had just exited the bathroom), he said, “No, but if I did, I wouldn’t be able to sit with them because we have to stay with our classes.” I pressed, “but if you could move, would you?” “Yes, Mama, I would”. Did I bait him up? Sure. Did he say the right thing? Yes. Would he really do it? Given the fact that our kids have always hated any sort of oppression against their peers, and can spot sadness, effortlessly (I might wear my emotions on my sleeve). Yes, I truly believe he would pack up his Goldfish and banana, ask to move to another table (Cahill’s despise getting in trouble at school), plop down next to his new/lonely/lost friend and rattle on about baseball.
Perhaps by stifling our own worries about outcomes and status quo, we can transform our restless energy into kindness toward the people who so desperately need to be uplifted, supported or simply want to share a bag of Goldfish during lunch.
Dig Deep: On your run today clear your mind of worry.
Today’s Challenge: Say and dissect the Serenity Prayer –
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.