Still time to get out of our ruts this Lent Print
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Apr. 04, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

Every day as a means of spurring family discussion around the supper table, my husband and I ask each of our children to talk about his or her "rose" and "thorn" of the day.

Recently this was a conversation I had with my six-year-old son:

"What was your thorn of the day?"

"My bottom got wet when I went down the slide at recess."

"So what did you do about it?"

"I just kept going down the slide and my bottom got wetter and wetter."

I laughed out loud because I recognized my own stubbornness in my young son.

Of course he kept going down the slide. It was fun and the immediate side effect of a wet bottom was apparently not enough to deter him. It wasn't until later that he began to see his decision as a "thorn."

This is such a simple example, but why do we do this? Why, as human beings, do we continue to engage in habits or behaviors that are not beneficial to us in the end?

We are intelligent, we know that B will happen if we do A, and yet we somehow feel compelled to still do A, sometimes over and over just like my son on the slide.

As an adult, I do the same thing when I fall into the same harmful behavior over and over, ignoring the immediate effects of my actions -- until later. This is what happens when we "get stuck in a rut" or get stuck in our own sinful ways that have become "just a part of who we are."

Shedding bad habits

Being a good Catholic Christian requires each of us to get out of our ruts, to make concerted efforts to root out those habits that hold us back from truly becoming what God envisions us to be.

That's part of what Lent is for. And it is not easy.

If you're like me, perhaps you've already given up on that Lenten promise you made on Ash Wednesday. Perhaps you think, "Well, better luck next year." But no. It's not too late. We still have a couple weeks of Lent left to make a difference in those not-so-great habits in our lives.

Maybe it's habitual gossip. Or TV binging. Or texting too much. Or drinking. Or whatever it is that keeps us from God and engaging in meaningful relationships with our family.

Ruts in our lives

These are the ruts of our lives. Make an effort to get out of them this Lent, to rid ourselves of them in a good Confession, so that when the glorious season of Easter dawns upon us, we can rejoice with Our Savior who has given His life so that we, too, may live.

Let us give Him our all, our whole being, including all of our hidden sins and bad habits, which He can forgive in Confession.

This Lent, as we head toward the hopefulness of Easter, let us each remember that we are not our sins and that our sins do not become us. God has endowed each of us with a will that can choose him over sinfulness, love over hate, truth over lies.

When it is time for me to leave this great playground called life, I want to look back and know that I truly did my best to fill it with roses instead of thorns. For God. For my family. For myself.

O Lord, please give me the grace to do the best I can.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.