My little 6 year old son was working on his reading homework with me one afternoon, and when I insisted he read something he didn’t want to, he whispered something under his breath. Not quite believing my ears, I asked him to repeat it. “Curse you,” he repeated. I was quite taken aback, and we had a conversation about blessing and cursing others, followed by restricting the TV show from which he’d picked that one up!
But isn’t it all too easy for me to blink at that speck in his eye. The next morning I walked into the kitchen to witness the dishevelment left from preparing last nights dinner. I’m often too tired in the evening to tend to it, so I tackle it in the morning. But it is usually with a terrible attitude and accusatory thoughts rolling through my mind. “If my husband would just through out the trash as he’s preparing dinner,” never mind the grace it takes for him to come home from work and help me out by taking over dinner prep. I can get myself quite worked up into a temper, though I’d never speak even half of what I’m thinking aloud.
How is this any different than cursing my loved ones? What right have I to bemoan their faults? As I mentioned before, this Lent our good Father is working on my interior dialog, and this aspect is a biggie! I’m learning to consciously divert my thoughts and refocus on other things. One tool I’m using is to bring my laptop with me and turn on this Liturgy of the Hours podcast while I clean up. Another is to pray blessings for my family members as I go about my daily routine chores. I have also made a set of sacrifice beads and consider each unpleasant task a true sacrifice of my time and will to God.
So far, I still battle a little bit of despair and loathing when facing large unpleasant jobs, but I’m getting better at putting the brakes on those thoughts and turning my mind to Christ and pleasant things instead. A clean home is a blessing, but even more is a peaceful wife/mother who is actively blessing you, too.