“Well, we are really winning at this parenting thing, aren’t we?”
This is a statement that tends to come out of my mouth at the height of stressful parenting moments… so, you know… often. I’ll realize that I forgot a special dress day when we are already in the car running a few minutes late or I’ll be yelling for the 10th time “Boys, it is time for bed!” in the middle of the messy playroom and, almost subconsciously, the words will leave my mouth directed right at my husband: “Winning, we are just winning.”
Almost as soon as the words leave my lips, I realize that I have, once again, compared parenting to a competitive sport.
And, each time, I wonder who am I exactly playing against?
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is being tempted by the devil in the desert. And He remains steadfast and resists all temptations. Would that I could be so strong! It is a temptation for me always to make parenting a competition… one that I am inherently bad at. I look on Social Media and see other parents “winning” the game, and I feel myself falling more and more behind the curve. The idea of “winning” at life is exactly what led Adam and Eve to want to know more in today’s first reading. They felt behind the curve because God knew more than they did. They thought they could be better or achieve more if they could just be a bit more like God.
It is today’s Second Reading, however, that gives me hope. For in Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he says “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.” In other words, there is no competition to win. Jesus died on the cross for all of us because He loves us, just as we are, in all our broken humanity. Sure, He wants us to work to be the best version of ourselves because He loves us and wants the best for us. But in His eyes, there is no competition. For His eyes are staring directly at each one of us and as Anthony de Mello, S.J. said “Beholding us and smiling.”
How can you let go of the competitive spirit of life this week and be content that God loves you, just as you are?
*This is the start of my second year of reflection on the Sunday Readings. You can catch last year’s First Sunday of Lent reflection here.