Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Bella's school had a 9:30AM Liturgy of the Word this morning that included the school kids, so I opted for that instead of attempting the 8:15 Mass. I got to church and got settled in, and a few moments later Bella's class entered. They lined up along the first three rows and the teacher had them genuflect all at once, on her signal, which was cute. She settled them into their seats and then proceeded to do what anyone in charge of 18 first graders in church would do - a lot of shushing, a lot of shuffling around to separate the talkers, so on and so forth. I was in a back corner, so Bella was not aware of my presence.

I watched her for a while - she started out well, but then started talking and just would not stop. Her teacher shushed her three times, at least, and then moved her. She had just started talking to her new neighbor when she glanced over at me (I had been giving her the mommy glare for the better part of five solid minutes) and jumped a little bit, then promptly hushed, folded her hands and became the very picture of contrition. I snickered a little bit to myself as I watched her alternately stare lovingly up at the crucifix and then glance over at me to make sure I was watching - at one point even mouthing to me, "I'm looking at Jesus". Mm-hmm.

It was a wonderful service, and the priest in charge of the parish and the school is just wonderful. He is so good with the kids, and you can tell that he loves what he does. He said something that was for the benefit of the school kids that I realized I needed to consider, too.....he said that when you give something up for Lent, you should find something worthy to replace it. He used TV as an example, saying if you give up an hour of TV a day (you can give up just an hour? why didn't I think of that?!) you should replace it with prayer or good works or something that makes your sacrifice even more meaningful. I hadn't really gone any further in my thought processes than to give up television, but that made me think about what I would be (or SHOULD be) doing instead. I'm still working on that one.

I am starting to see why people love Lent.

On a lighter note, I haven't watched television since late Tuesday night - I went right up to the wire, shutting it off at midnight. :) I was fine with it this morning, since I was busy getting ready for church and work. This afternoon was a whole different story, though - I missed it, terribly.

I have since had time to mull over why the television is on so much in my house, and have experienced some dawning realizations. Namely that:

  • Bella watches too much TV - and I am guilty of letting her do so. And I count on the TV too often - it's like a good friend that comes over and watches your kids while you make dinner or fold a load of laundry, only it's not a good friend, it's television, and I depend on it too much to keep the kids busy. Bubba ignores TV, for the most part, but Bella is hooked.

  • I am lazy! I realized tonight that collapsing on the couch to rest when the TV is on feels ok, feels somehow permissible, because I am 'doing something'. I'm actually doing nothing, but somehow I am able to reason it away. Tonight, with Bella in the shower, the supper dishes mostly done and the television off, I plopped down on the sofa and....just felt lazy. Not to say there is anything wrong with plopping down on the sofa for no good reason - but when there are other things to be done, that's a different story. So I have to wonder how often I did that in front of the TV and then just zoned out, either completely forgetting what I was supposed to be doing or putting it off until later.
  • I really thought that the logistics of giving up television would be harder than the act - you know, what do I do when I go to someone's house, do I let Bella watch cartoons, am I going to have to hide in a back room somewhere when Brian is home, things like that - I thought that was going to be the difficult part. I really thought that I wasn't watching television that much, that I was just using it for background noise, but I was wrong.

If anyone feels like offering up an extra prayer, my dear sponsor/Godfather is going through a tough time right now - his dad is in hospice care, and he is looking after his mother, taking care of all the details with his father, and that's in addition to the already sizable duties of his daily life. And despite all that he still makes sure that I go to mass. :) So this one's for Misser Mike, as Bella fondly calls him: we are praying for you and your family, that you will have peace, love and grace. And call me if you need anything. Like the good southern girl I was raised to be, help often comes in the form of a casserole, but I can do other things, too - just say the word! And I leave you with the last verse of 'Lead, Kindly Light' (this verse by Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth):

"Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,

Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.

To rest forever after earthly strife

In the calm light of everlasting life."

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