“Remember when you were a kid and you’d go on vacation and you’d be like, “Why is dad always in a bad mood?” Now I understand. “How can I spend an enormous amount of money, be uncomfortable, and listen to my children complain and whine? Disney! Oh, good!”It hits home for everyone. It Was For Lent But all that past fighting was not really our motivation. We were motivated by dessert. Since spring break falls in the midst of Lent, we all had various things that we were giving up: snacking, ice cream, candy, one day of dessert. We can kind of adapt here at home but we knew that if we were on vacation, we would probably all end up having to give up what everyone else was sacrificing. It just wouldn’t work having our family go out for ice cream with our 7-year-old sitting sadly to the side to maintain his Lenten fast. Plus, let’s face it, yummy treats are a crucial part of vacation for us. If the tooth fairy could get hold of my family’s sweet tooth, she would retire. So we decided to do something all together just for this week. My suggestion was turned down as not pious enough. I thought that for the week, we should give up our regular work and school. I guess that seemed like cheating. But we certainly didn’t want to give up on the food fun. Giving up fighting seemed easier. We opted for easy. Good thing. It Wasn’t that Hard I’m not sure why but it wasn’t that hard. I held my tongue a few times. Turned my head to look outside instead of giving a nasty glare. I quickly gave up my this or that to appease those around me. But it wasn’t just me. Everyone did this. With the exception of a few tiny reminders (none from me), it just worked. Except for one person. An Exception One person could not relent. In fact, from the very start, he declared that he was not giving up fighting for Lent. Fighting was too precious to him. He wouldn’t agree to give it up even though it was pointed out that he still had a calling to be kind and heroic even if he wouldn’t give up fighting. In the end, it didn’t matter though since he didn’t have anyone who was willing to fight back. He was fine. Back to Reality So, now our spring fun is over and we are back home. We are back at the computer, back at the laundry, back to the dishes and reminders about chores. Soon, back to school and work. I’m always curious about the purpose of vacation. Is it really just like that sweet treat we all crave? Is it just a temporary pleasure? Does it leave us just as fast as ice cream? For many, yes. But this time, I think something else took place. I think a seed of peace was planted. Our “fasting” may have borne a little fruit. And after all, isn’t this what Lent is all about?
Copyright 2019 Carrie Soukup
About the Author
Carrie Soukup writes at GraceFinders.com, compelled by St. Therese, Brother Lawrence, and St. Ignatius to help others connect intimately with God in and through the craziness of life. She has served as a curriculum writer, campus minister, high school theology teacher and retreat director. On a great day, you can find her hiking or cycling with her husband and four children.