Thursday, February 22, 2007

Crab Wednesday

I am such a wretch. I blame it on spiritual flabbiness, but whatever the cause it seems I can't get away from being crabby on Ash Wednesday. I thought I would do better this year because I am not pregnant or even nursing and, besides, I really am excited about this Lent. But no.

I was fine in the morning and even made it through lunch and the early part of the afternoon in good spirits. But then the afternoon hours just seemed to c...r....rrr...eee...e...eeee....p by. I was cold and I was hungry and the kids were bickering about nothing and everything and there was nothing to look forward to but more of the same. I know, I know, have you ever heard of such suffering in all your life? What a spoiled child I am.

Crab, crab, crab. Snap, snap, snap, is just about all anyone heard from me until I had time to reflect on the day's Gospel.

"When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad."

I know the Gospel, here, is referring to the way the Pharisees would paint their faces ostentatiously to show everyone that they were fasting, but it seems to apply to my crabbiness as well.

You know, I don't even think it is the hardship of Ash Wednesday that gets to me. It seems I've suffered much, much harder things without becoming crabby. I think it is the obedience part. It is the thought that I can't just drop it at any moment and say, "Oh well, that was a nice idea, but it's not working so let's go out for pizza! Everyone to the van!" I think penance undertaken out of obedience is so much harder than penances freely chosen. It is also more meritorious and, for that reason, a great opportunity for growth.

I am grateful for the opportunity, and thankful that every day is new.

9 comments:

Diane said...

I think you hit the nail right on the head !Obedience can be so tough for us parents

Alice said...

It is so funny to read Diane's comment, because I was planning to write, "As usual Suzanne, you hit the nail right on the head!"

This is a great application of the Gospel to our common experience, and it is an image I will remember for a long time to come.

Cheryl M. said...

Yes, penance out of obedience is difficult. I hope today is a bit easier for you.

Gabrielle said...

So true. I don't usually bring a big lunch to work anyway, maybe just some fruit, but yesterday, just because it was an official day of fasting, I found myself thinking about food on and off all day. Funny how our minds and hearts work...

Theresa said...

And why is it that a box of cookies looks SO GOOD one day (say, Ash wednesday), and isn't even the slightest bit tempting the next? Ah, the lure of forbidden fruit.

Suzanne Temple said...

Thanks Diane, Alice and Cheryl.

You are SO RIGHT Gabrielle and Theresa.

J. C. said...

Suzanne,
I SO identify with this Ash Wednesday phenomenon!! I was remarking to my husband yesterday how this seems to happen to me every year (my poor family)! I never thought about it in terms of rebellion--makes sense. Now, not to fall back on the proverbial "the-devil-made-me-do-it"-excuse, but I also think there is some spiritual warfare being waged, particularly on these very important days of penitence. I guess all we can do is steel ourselves, yet again, and pray that we may persist faithfully and cheerfully in sacrifice during this Lenten season... Gob bless you.

Blair said...

I felt the same way last night. In fact, I was feeling so horrible I somehow convinced myself to have a big snack right after midnight! I am such a wimp! Hopefully I'll do better with fasting in the future, making sure I find myself relying on God more when I am weak.

Karen E. said...

"penance undertaken out of obedience is so much harder than penances freely chosen. It is also more meritorious and, for that reason, a great opportunity for growth."

Amen, amen, amen.
:-)