We've been hearing a lot about “fasting” recently, but I want to talk about expanding my diet. A friend and I were recently talking about how picky appetites can be. It didn’t take me long to have the vision of a recent family dinner where a child’s plate was headed to the sink with half-eaten vegetables on it. The Little One’s chant “I don’t want that” is heard more times than I like when we are offering her delicious and healthy choices. It made me reflect on how easy it is in this world of food-centered entertainment to develop a finicky appetite. Recently, the Little One was having a melt down after we were at the park because she was legitimately hungry. However, when I offered her the only food I could find in my car (a bag of dried bananas and almonds), it was refused. The tears and “suffering” were preferred to the unappetizing snack.
This sharing with my friend got me thinking in a different direction. I started to see just how picky I am when it comes to the moods and actions of my dear ones. There are days I prefer locking myself in my room in tears and “suffering” over being “treated” to my Little One’s refusal to obey me! Oh, and don’t think of serving me a teen attitude of laziness, or an exhausted husband after a long day at work who goes to take a nap instead of “eat off my plate” of overtired Little One. I inevitably chant, “I don’t want that!” when God serves me the daily food for my soul.
I’d rather have some “comfort food,” like a child’s quick obedience or a sparkling bathroom. I want an order of “yes, Mom” and “I like to share” with a side of “pleases” and don’t forget the “thank yous.” No, I don’t think I’ll choose an “I don’t want to go to Mass” or an “I’ll do my homework later, Mom, after my 3 straight hours of t.v.” snack. Yes, I’m picky. If you serve me what I don’t like, I might just chew you up, and spit you out for it! Oh bother – I really am self-absorbed.
I was sharing my struggles with self-absorption and the various sins it was leading me into with my spiritual father when he reminded me about Blessed Mother’s “appetite.” She ISN’T picky. She loves me when I am faithful; she loves me when I am unfaithful. She stays with me when I get moody, when I find myself angry, or when I am joyful and upbeat. She ISN’T picky. Since my willful entrustment to Christ through Mary, I have been discovering more quickly and deeply just how amazing God’s love is. He knows who I am, and He loves me as I am. It is this Love that is pushing me to desire to expand my diet and be more conscious of and grateful for the “meals” my Lord prepares for me, or allows to be prepared for me, through the daily events with my dear ones. I entrust these “meals” to Blessed Mother that WE may be less picky with my dear ones, and love them as they are!
“Spiritual childlikeness will enable you to thank Mary for loving you in spite of your misery. It is true that the interior of the whitewashed tomb is filthy and abominable. However, it is also true that you are loved not because of some kind of imaginary perfection or cleanliness of soul, but because you are a child – the Heavenly Father’s child. He will always accept you. When you throw yourself into His arms with childlike trust, He will never despise you or abandon you.” (S.C. Biela, Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock [Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 66.)