A week and a half or so into Lent, and this penitential thing is hard but definitely do-able. Every year, I try to challenge myself. Some years I can really tell the spiritual benefit, like this year when my addiction to food is becoming very obvious to me. I had to fight not to daydream about doughnuts, ice cream, and bread all through Mass on Sunday. If I'm thinking about food it's getting between me and God, so something needs to change.
Along with the sugar addiction, I've been noticing lately my tendency to turn inward, to myself and my own family, instead of paying attention to the world around us. I started collecting our extras in the house to donate to charity, but it didn't make me interact with other people. I could drop off bags of clothes and never have to acknowledge another human being.
I'm going to continue purging the house, because we could certainly stand to have less stuff, but I thought I'd try adding a new thing every week from now until Easter. I'm not talking about big things, but small ways I can love my neighbor when we are out in public.
This past week I decided to start taking pictures. We live in an area where moms seem to be camera obsessed. (I'll bet you do too.) Smart phones have made taking snapshots of every little thing almost obligatory. Funny thing though, the kids' lives are over-documented...but moms are nearly non-existent in most of the pictures I see. (I'm using Facebook as my measuring stick on that. I look at a lot of FB pictures. If you're my friend, please post more.) Moms are so busy behind the cameras that they aren't in front of them.
I've decided to do what I can to fix that.
I've probably taken 20 such pictures this week. (We had a karate belt graduation. Lots of moms there.) Each woman beamed at being allowed to be in the pictures with her family. Not a single one said no. Best of all were the reactions of the kids. "Mom, you look so pretty." "You're never in pictures with us!" "This one is my favorite because it's dad and me and you."
My favorite reaction was the 5 year old boy in #5's karate class "Wow, Mom! It's like you're part of our family."
That's why this has become my Lenten non-sacrifice. It's my gift to the families around me. We're putting mom back in the picture, because we all love to see more of her smiling face!