Amanda Lawrence extends a reminder that accidents are often opportunities to examine our conscience.
Meatless Fridays are still a thing in my house. It’s how I was raised, even after the rules seemed to change. Penance isn’t man’s idea: it’s God’s. Jesus died on a Friday. That’s why abstinence from meat remains a universal law of the Latin Church, even if it’s not always obeyed. Fish and chips were my mother’s go-to. My son and I usually have an eggplant dish, fish, or an occasional pizza.
One Friday, without thinking, I bit into the last piece of beef jerky and tossed the package in the trash.
“Oh, no!” I moaned to myself moments later, slapping my forehead with my fingertips.
“What’s wrong?” asked my son.
“It’s Friday and I just finished the jerky,” I said dejected.
He thought for a moment before he spoke. “What if you sacrifice something else?”
“That’s an excellent idea!” I exclaimed.
I’d been meaning to make a trip to my local thrift store. This was a perfect invitation. I love secondhand shops! They’re responsible for a lot of what’s in my wardrobe. The concept of sharing household goods and clothes for charitable reasons always intrigued me. I directed my son to his bedroom with an empty bag in hand.
“Remember the rule,” I said. “If you wouldn’t gift it to your best friend or grandmother, don’t give it to a thrift store.” We both filled our bags with ill-fitting clothes from our dressers and took a trip to a nearby secondhand shop.
I dropped my bag in the donation bin and brushed my hands together.
“That’s that,” I said, satisfied.
“Feel better?” asked my son.
“Totally,” I replied. “We’re still having salmon for dinner, though.”
He nodded and smiled at me.
In those moments I was filled with pride. The day’s adventure originated from a single thought in the brain of my child. I hugged him and expressed my immense gratitude to God the Father for his existence. It’s hard being a solo parent. Harder still when my son's own father suffered for so long, and all we could do was watch while he faded away.
Grief steals happiness from every corner of the soul. It steamrolls over us with overwhelming emotion. We’re hostages to its waves, like those of a tsunami. So when the skies clear and the rainbow emerges, it feels so good to know things are going okay. That even through storms of grief, I’m instilling values in my son. They tend to bubble up at the exact right moment to remind me we’re still on the right track.
Eschewing meat on Friday is one way I stay holy. Teaching my son to do the same is another. But accidents happen! Fortunately, Friday is a day of penance. I’m happy to treat it as such. I invite all to join. Consider fasting, praying, volunteering, and sacrificing something you love once a week in the name of God the Son.
Spread the word: embrace this abstinence of appetite!
Copyright 2021 Amanda Lawrence
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Amanda Lawrence is a cradle Catholic, mother, librarian, writer, and speaker. She lives in her own little slice of Heaven on the coast of Massachusetts with her son and dog. She hopes to make disciples through wisdom, truth, and her service to God.