To give up or not to give up? That is the question. I rather like the idea of Lent and the practice of doing something different in my daily life’s routine--something that jolts my world a bit and makes me think about sacrifice.
I never really thought about sacrifice until I had children, but then I knew that if I had to throw myself in front of a bus to save them, I would, without hesitation. Moms sacrifice a good bit of themselves in the process of rearing a healthy brood. Let’s start with the body. I know that my doughy road-mapped belly will never feel comfortable in a two-piece swimsuit again (not that I ever did...). During pregnancy I did not lose one hair from my head or at least it was not noticeable, but right after childbirth and really ever since I shed like a darn sheepdog. After having children my equilibrium completely changed and made it impossible for me to ride a merry-go-round or even on a regular swing.. I feel like I am going to hurl on the simplest of rides. This is a bummer because I used to love all the wild stuff at Six Flags and could ride just about anything, jump off and turn around and ride again. I see the effects of aging in me much more than I see them in my husband (and we’re the same age) - my hair has more gray, my face is more obviously wrinkling, neck sagging etc. Let’s move on to the mind before I jump out the window... :-)
Now, what was I going to talk about? Give me a minute, I know it will come to me. Have you seen my keys? Where is the #!$*!@# cell phone, oh, for Pete’s sake, I just had my glasses... I think we have an over-accumulation of mindtrash - full of email, texts, phone calls, junk mail, schoolwork, workwork, guilt, the fighting off guilt, worrying about what you need to do next while doing two things currently... Who has the capacity to know where the kids shoes are? or where you can find a pen that writes or the match to all the socks??? It’s too much. Moms and Dads sacrifice time, self-interests, pursuits of dreams, souls? ( maybe the uber-moms...). I struggle with guilt when I pursuit things just for me... I am working on that.
I didn’t go into detail about our recent trip to DC, but the event was so enriching and enjoyable - even with 140 fifth graders! Sacrifice permeates the very mortar of all the buildings, memorials, and monuments there. Bells toll for all the people in our history who worked for something great, some high ideal, for the sake of all people.
I am always overwhelmed with patriotism when I visit that city. On our last day in DC, our school presented a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the Arlington National Cemetery. Even the hardest of hearts had tears at this reverent ceremony. I ran out of tissues and sleeves as the trumpeter played Taps. The young guards that pace and protect that space 24/7 know about sacrifice, as do the families and friends of all that are represented by the white stone markers.
It seems a little anti-climactic to give up chocolate, silly to sacrifice soda... doesn’t seem to have a great deal of meaning in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like defending a people’s freedom or throwing yourself on a grenade but maybe the little sacrifices are supposed to remind me of the bigger ones.