Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Lenten Reflection

My daughter Lauren attends a Christian preschool.  Not that we would consider ourselves "religious."  My husband and I were both baptized and confirmed Lutheran but do not necessarily consider ourselves "Lutheran."  This preschool came highly recommended and is very close to our house.  Two pluses in my book.  I found myself pulling away from organized religion when I was in college.  Growing up in a small town, church was a big part of my social world.  I attended church almost every Sunday, went to confirmation studies and Sunday School.  I was in the junior choir and with that came lots of activities that in my book had nothing to do with religion. 

I then went through a period of time where I was nothing but "doing religion for the sake of doing religion" and put no heart into any of it.  It was just something I thought I should do.  (you sometimes can't shake those maniacal mid-west religious roots)  In my early engagement and marriage to my husband I found myself trying to change his thoughts, beliefs and questioning how I could be with someone who held little or no belief and yet put his "faith" (he wouldn't call it that) into things like proof, science and fact.  How funny that I have now, after 14 years of marriage with all it's ups and downs and two kids later, come around to his belief.  (or lack there-of)

But what I can say I appreciate and thank my parents for, is the foundation.  They gave me the groundwork, the training and conditioning that enabled me to make a choice that was right for me later on in life.  What is faith?  What is religion?  Is there a God?  Is there a Heaven or a Hell?  hmmmmmmmm...........all good questions that my daughter will most-likely ask me about as she learns and grows.  My sister-in-law helped me to come to a neutral place abut a religious school.  Her belief is that the basic information taught are simple facts on how to be a better human being.  Treat your parents with respect, be kind to others, don't steal, don't cheat, don't lie, etc.  And I agree.  When we dealve into specific religions and all the rules and regulations for any particular sect, that's when I get a little crazy.

So tonight my simple thought is this.  Love one another.  God loves everyone.  Is that the message your religion thought you?  I hope so.  Call it religion, spirituality, or what have you.....tolerance is love. 
The below "reflection" was in the March newsletter for preschool.  It spoke to me.  Relgious or not.  Anyone can find some piece of this that resonates with them. 

Give up complaining ~ focus on gratitude

Give up pessimism ~ become an optimist

Give up harsh judgements ~ think kindly thoughts

Give up worry ~ trust in Divine Providence

Give up discouragement ~ be full of hope

GIve up bitterness ~ turn to forgiveness

Give up hatred ~ return good for evil

Give up negatism ~ be positive

Give up anger ~ be more patient

Give up pettiness ~ become more mature

Give up gloom ~ enjoy the beauty that is all around you

Give up jealousy ~ pray for trust

Give up gossiping ~ control your tongue

GIve up sin ~ turn to virtue

Give up giving up ~ Hang in there!!!!

(The picture posted on top is an ice dam in Door County, WI.  Beautiful yet ragged and ripped.....kinda like life.  Yet Spring comes and the ice melts.)

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your posts, Tricia. Always so insightful, and almost alway make me LOL! hehe. This one particularily hit home for me, since at 8:20 last night I had just gotten home from church with Morgan, where she learned how, and practiced praying the entire rosary. Out loud. As a group. With parent participation. Yep, that's roughly 60 some-odd prayers said as you make your way around a chain of beads, and learn all about the mysteries of Jesus. I've struggled a lot recently with my beliefs as well, and often feel guilty about MAKING my kids go to our VERY Catholic church most Sundays, with a dash of Wednesday nights added in for extra flavor... I remember being not particularily happy with my own mom when she made me go as a kid, and remember how much I didn't like it then, but I hope my kids will grow up and understand why I'm putting them through the program that the church offers, and having them receive their sacraments as I did when I was their age. Thankfully when Morgan receives her First Communion in May, she gets to wear a particularly fancy expensive white dress that she picked out herself, so she has that to look forward too. I'm trying to get her to focus more on the actual message of the event, and a little less on the dressing up part, but hey, we pick our battles, right? :)

    Anyhow, sorry to ramble in your comment section, but I guess it was my way of saying thanks for your awesome blog. Miss ya! ~Nancy H