Erin McCole Cupp examines how a family’s thirst for good things is a sign of God’s desire for us.
I don’t know about where you live, but in our corner of Pennsylvania, July typically is our hottest month. Growing up, it seemed that every time July rolled around, we found ourselves placed under some kind of drought restrictions. Restaurant waitstaff no longer defaulted to bringing you a glass of water when you first sat at their tables. We could only water our garden in the very early morning or just before the sun went down. No car washing allowed. We kids felt the special pain of not being able to run through the hose at high noon on a blazing July day.
We’ve been blessed this year in terms of precipitation. Somehow, with everything else that’s going on in the world, at least we’ve had just enough rain – not too little, but not so much that the mosquitoes are thick upon the air. In fact, our area of Pennsylvania hasn’t had an actual drought since 2000.
When I discovered that July is the month the Church dedicates to the Precious Blood of Jesus, I thought back to all those childhood summers of drought restrictions, which in turn made me think of my own kids, and I indulged in a half-joking moment of, “Kids these days don’t know how good they have it!”
Of course, hearing the complaining and seeing the eye-rolling that goes on in our house makes it pretty clear that these kids don’t think they have it all that good. No vacation this year. No pool to enjoy, like the neighbors have. No get-togethers in groups when your mom (like the mom my kids happen to have) is COVID-susceptible and everyone in the family has to be more careful than your average citizen.
My kids aren’t getting much of what they’re thirsting for these days. But how good do my kids have it? I have hope that they have it better than I did.
I’m not delusional. My kids have suffered and still do suffer from my parenting fails and harsh responses. Still, I must look back on my own childhood as a survivor of family abuse and dysfunction. My kids have suffered at my sins, yes. It is my life’s work and hope to be able to say with what timid confidence I can muster that they do not suffer my lack of repentance, as I do with my family of origin.
I can’t take credit for this. Yes, the “better than I had it” is due in some part to my recovery work: therapy, reading, writing, support groups, setting boundaries, saying no to those who hurt us and do not repent. However, all of those things are only active in my life because I first saw my need, my thirst, and turned to Christ, begging to drink of only the Truth, no matter how painful it might be.
That draw to real food and real drink is what led me to the Eucharist, including the Precious Blood of Christ, which we celebrate this month. That, in turn, is what cultivated my heart to become a place of repentance. Sacraments and sacramentals keep my heart from becoming so hardened to my sin that the drenching Blood of Christ just rolls right off of it.
When we tap into the sacraments and sacramentals like the Family Rosary, we open up a well so deep that it cannot be depleted by even the harshest drought. This must be why the Church gives us this dry month dedicated to Christ as drink. The good things we want remind us of the even better things that wait for us in that which flows from the heart of Jesus.
Our Lady promises abundant good things to those who pray her Rosary. No, my kids aren’t getting what they want right now, and they want good things: fun, connection, adventure, relief. It is my hope as their mom that by choosing Christ above all things, especially when I admit my many failings to them and work to amend them, I am showing them how good it is to let Jesus dig those wells in us for when those unquenchable thirsts do come along.
Blood of Jesus, slake our thirst.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Copyright 2020 Erin McCole Cupp
Images (top to bottom): Copyright 2019 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved; Marcus Spiske, Stocksnap
About the Author
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. She's working with Our Sunday Visitor on a book about parenting spirituality for survivors of family abuse and dysfunction. Find out more about her novels and other projects at ErinMcColeCupp.com.