2.25.2009

To Give Up... Or To Give, That is the Question

Today is Ash Wednesday. You know what that means, it means that my children are trying to figure out something that they can give up for Lent that will not be too painful for them.

Hope always goes for the big thing. One year she gave up the television. Another year she gave up her radio. Then there was the year where we all had to live with her as she gave up mashed potatoes... that was a dark dark Lent. But I am proud of Hope as she never picks the easy road. She goes for the throat and survives. I think this year she decided to give up email... pfffft. I could never do that. She is already a better person than me at the young age of 14.

Aaron is not as strong willed as Hope. He gives things up like, looking at his baseball cards (that he can't find) or not wearing his favorite pair of black socks (that he left down at the creek when he took them off). He is also very good at "forgetting" or "changing his mind" midstream into Lent. If he gives up video games this week (because he is grounded from them due to his tackle/pushing of one or all of his sisters) he will change his mind next week when the ban on the Wii is lifted and he just can't take the temptation. He is a week-to-week kind of guy. I tried to convince him to give up staring at the little blonde girl that sits across from him in school, but he just turned red and called me "weird."

I think last year was the first year that Emma took on this sacrifice in the name of God. She gave up sleeping with socks on. Her toes thanked her. This year she is having such a hard time deciding... she is thinking about giving up meat except for chicken (uhm, we don't eat meat) or watching TV after school (Emma can care less about TV because she is too busy coloring and cutting little pieces of paper that end up all over my kitchen floor each day). I suggested she give up picking her nose and eating her boogies. She thought about it for a second and decided against it.

I will give up my usual... shopping at Target. Don't laugh. That is a HUGE sacrifice. Like today for instance, I need to get milk and I need some CDs so that I can burn some more songs to play in my van... but I can't go to Target so WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? I will eventually convince myself that I don't need the CDs and I will buy the milk at the little grocery store across the street that I don't like to go to because I can't also pick up a book, some underpants for Emma, a light bulb, some glue, my conditioner, and a toy for that kid who is having a birthday party next week.

I always hear adults say "I am not giving anything up, this year... I am going to DO something."

Hmmmm... do something? What I wonder.

Are they going to volunteer at a soup kitchen? Possibly. Are they going to donate non-perishable items to the food pantry? Maybe. Are they going to give all of their clothes away and their worldly possessions and follow Christ? That may be pushing it.

Wow... give up my worldly possessions and follow Christ. Does that include my iPod?

What I wouldn't give to have the faith to do such a thing. To have the faith to resist temptation and truly live in the light of Christ. I mean, I know that God does not expect me to give away everything I have in search of Him, no, he just wants me to give up my dependence on worldly things and depend on Him.

Hmmmm... how is that for an Ash Wednesday reflection? Who or what do you depend upon? And if it is not Jesus, honestly, how it is working out for ya?

Do you see over there on my sidebar the Mass readings? Now, I know not everyone who comes to the Six-Pack is a Cat-lic, and just the other day my own mother-the woman who gave birth to me-asked me if I was still considered a Catholic Blog... and I said "MA! Catholics sin too ya know." and she said "Yes, but do you have to try so damn hard?" and then I pointed out to her that she was sinning because she was telling me I was sinning and she said she was not pointing out to me that I was sinning and she was just guiding me which is her job in this lifetime to help me get to Heaven and then I said, "Ya, well you said damn" and she said "I can say a lot more to you Cristin Ann (I knew I was in trouble when she used my full name) but I won't because I don't want to sin."

Oh that woman!

Anyway-I am thinking that 99% of yous are Christians, so do you see the readings over there on the sidebar? Maybe we can made a pact to click on those everyday and actually read them. Maybe we can decide to let the words fill us, to help us give up our dependence on worldly matters and depend on God this Lent.

"Praise the Holy Spirit, Who leads us into the desert with the Son to find the Father."


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*Update From Aunt Barb (to good to leave hidden in the comments):
The ashes are an outwward sign that we are to: Remember man, that thou are dust and to dust you will return.It doesn't have anything to do with the scripture about not showing that you are fasting...The sacrifice of giving up something for lent (be chocolate or pizza)is an excerise in will power. We increase our will power by making these sacrifices and that will give us the charged up will power needed when we are tempted to sin.Eating chocolate is not a sin, but the will power it takes to not eat it during lent let's us know that we have the will power to overcome temptation. I've often thought that all the things I gave up during lent, as a child, gave me the ability to overcome alot of temptations that came my way as an adult. And I am happy that I had all those years of will power practice. So pick something, give it up for lent and super charge your will power!It's a good thing!
Aunt Barbara

23 comments:

momto5minnies said...

This Catholic girl reads this "Catholic" girl blog.

So I guess I can't (be like your son) give up food that I have to chew since I CAN'T do any chewing (come Friday) for the next 5-6 weeks. That covers a lot.

I did order twine and will be making rosaries to give away. I'm hoping to say a lot of rosaries ... our country sure could use that.

I'll do the daily readings with you ...

Marva said...

Planting a seed there, June? LOVED this post!

Anonymous said...

I'm doing Lent this year! I giving up desserts, candy and pop!
A rosary and scripture reading each day.
I want to know how good it feels to follow through...
Giving something up for lent is good practice for becoming unworldly...don't ya think?
Happy Lent,
Aunt Barbara

warren said...

I am not a Catholic and I don't usually give up anything for lent. I can see the meaning in why people do though and I can appreciate that. My wife follows through with it though and always says she feels better for having one it (but then she gorges on chocolate for the week after Easter. I am not sure what philosophical meaning there might be there, but I think it is interesting. Still, props to you for making the sacrifice!

Anonymous said...

So here's my question - does anyone else always get confused on Ash Wednesday when the gospel reading is all "don't pray in public, don't look all hungry when you fast, don't make a big deal of your devotion" and then we walk around all day long with a big black smudge in the middle of the forehead? "Hey you have something on your forehead... No, today's Ash Wednesday, I'm Catholic..."

Just wonderin'

Alis said...

Since I am part of the 1% that isn't Christian (AHHH! The lost sheep!!) I will keep my mouth shut & hope that you'll go back to your funny blogs tomorrow. =o)

powdergirl said...

Hi June,
I was raised in a Christian houshold( Mennonite, believe it or not) but am not a practicing Christian. I do try to abide by the 10 commandments, I have NEVER coveted my neighbors wife, EVER.(of course she's no Salma Hayek) So I'm doing pretty good!

Want to say though, that I do admire your commitment to your faith.
And that your middle boy sounds a lot like my youngest boy. We lose a LOT of socks.

HaGD ; )

Meredith Gould said...

Just discovered your fabulous blog! Thanks for the laughs. I just wrote how Lent is not a diet plan...but that's just my rarely humble opinion.

The Wannabe Redhead said...

Bless you June for giving up shopping at Target. I would not be able to do that. Truly a sacrifice!!
...In other news, I'm thinking about giving up cussing/ swearing/ saying bad words, um, I think. We'll see how far I get. (Any other suggestions?)
My non-Catholic best friend suggested I give up wearing black or making right-hand turns while driving... Granted, these are things I cannot live without, however, I think Lent and the act of giving something up supposed to make you a better person, right? LOL

Cousin Steve said...

I've thought long and hard about what you said. And I do believe your profound words hit me right between the eyes.

I am going to give up being sober for lent.

And to show my constitution, I am drinking a beer and washing it down with warm Jack right now. I need to pace myself, I haven't had dinner yet. Or shoot, maybe I am drinking dinner now.

Urban Mom said...

Oooo boy, that's a big one. One year in college, I gave up watching TV alone. I could only watch as a group. I lived alone at the time, so it did wonders for my head and my productivity. And I didn't own a recording device of any kind, so it's not like I could just record everything for later.

I'm not sure what to give up. Blogging? Facebook? Rolling my eyes at Urban Dad?

Decisions, decisions..... But thanks for reminding me!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

June,

This is a very well done post! I thought about writing about this topic also, but couldn't come up with the words to pull it off. You came up with the right words, and then some. Absolutely nailed it! Don't give up writing for Lent!

june cleaver said...

UMom-I would give up the eye roll thing... or at least do it behind his back.

Aunt Barb-as long as you didn't give up beer because next weekend we are getting you drunk.

Rufus-thanks for that. I can't give up writing... how would I pay the bills around this place?

Cousin Steve... it is ASH WEDNESDAY! The only alcohol you are supposed to have should be turned into blood! Ugh. That is why I took my beer to Church this morning.

Domestically Disabled Girl said...

My students told me to give up Target for lent. I told them it would just end up with me in a bad mood and them all getting D's and F's. They quickly decided I should give something else up.

Alicia said...

I was raised Catholic but no longer follow the religion. (Long story.) I still consider myself a Christian; I'm just not tied to a denomination. However, my husband is Catholic and wishes for our children to be raised Catholic. (So much for avoiding a long story.) Anyhoo.....I suppose I should lead a good example to my children. You know...me being the mother and all.

Decisions, decisions.

Oh, I could give up being so outspoken and not griping so much. But no wait, that would mean I would have to lie a lot more. So that won't work.

I could give up coffee...no wait that won't work either.

I know....I will give up the computer at home!! (Don't worry folks. I work in front of a computer all day long here.)

Maybe I should think of other ideas.

TheFiveDays said...

Loved your post today! Cracking up over Emma. :)

I have a weird thing to "do" for Lent...I am brushing/flossing my teeth three times a day. Yes, weird I know. Long story. And I have three kids (5, 3, and 1) so getting time in the bathroom is tough...I may also have to give up peeing.

But I am going to add the readings...it is a great idea. I try to read them a few times a week but I certainly can do it every day! Thanks for the encouragement.

And stay away from Target.

~Tamie

Lanxi said...

13 years ago, 7 months pregnant with our first, I came home from work for good. I tell people that I gave it up for Lent and that it worked so well, I just kept going with it.

We are not a Catholic family, but I do want my kids to focus on what Easter is all about, and I think Lent can be a great time for that.

Anonymous said...

I like to give up for Lent...although this lent I'm preggers so I don't have to! But since we were raised so well I'd feel guilty if I didn't. But I like Aaron, don't know what to give up.
Love you
Claire

Kathleen's world said...

Oh, the Catholic guilt. But what if I said I was going to give up reading your blog for Lent? NOOOOOO. Can't possibly do it. Too big a sacrifice.

Speaking of faith, he's not a Catholic (I'm praying for him now!) but you should check out this blog entry from our religion reporter. Too funny.
http://blogs.indystar.com/thoushalt/2009/02/thou_shalt_help.html

Love ya!
Kathleen

Anonymous said...

The ashes are an outwward sign that we are to: Remember man, that thou are dust and to dust you will return.
It doesn't have anything to do with the scripture about not showing that you are fasting...
The sacrifice of giving up something for lent (be chocolate or pizza)is an excerise in will power. We increase our will power by making these sacrifices and that will give us the charged up will power needed when we are tempted to sin.
Eating chocolate is not a sin, but the will power it takes to not eat it during lent let's us know that we have the will power to overcome temptation. I've often thought that all the things I gave up during lent, as a child, gave me the ability to overcome alot of temptations that came my way as an adult. And I am happy that I had all those years of will power practice. So pick something, give it up for lent and super charge your will power!
It's a good thing!
Aunt Barbara

June's MA said...

If you can't "give up" something try doing Scripture Study (there might be a group at your church) or read the readings for the day. It is a peaceful time spent with the Scriptures. Read outloud to yourself or your little ones. Before you go to Mass each Sunday read over the readings. If you are moved to proclaim them at church you can volunteer to be a Lector.
We think we can't do without our conveniences or posessions but that is how we can come closer to God and His Son who DIED for us. God loves us, the LEAST we can do is open our lives to His love.

Blessings,
June's MA

Kimberly said...

I spent a lot of time deciding what to give up, and what to add during Lent this year. I have never given up chocolate in my entire life,and I think it's time.

I am also doing a daily devotion and praying thr rosary with my children. Every decade we complete without me tying up one of my boys is a victory.

I am also simplifying and plan to donate 20 bags of stuff we don't really need to the Jesus House.

As the Mama of lots of little ones, I am still learning the lesson of not my time, but in Gods' time, and dying to self includes being vomited on and snotted all over by a very sick baby.

Soliloquy said...

Frankly, I don't think Jesus would EVER ask you to give up Target.

Or wine.

That's just sadistic.