Blessings are the spiritual equivalent of breathing in, and prayer is the spiritual equivalent of breathing out.
- Monsignor Tom Hartman and Rabbi Marc Gellman
“Ummm... Mom?” John asked quizzically, “Why are you cooking at 6:45 in the morning?”
The smell of garlic, onions and green pepper wafted out of the kitchen; the black beans for arroz con habichuelas simmered on the stove.
“Because I’ve learned that on Ash Wednesday it’s easier to cook before I get hungry,” I replied. John looked a bit startled–thinking that far ahead isn’t the norm for 17-year old boys–and nodded.
“Can I eat lunch today at school?” he asked.
“Use your judgment. You need to eat enough so you don’t fall asleep in class, but you do want to notice your hunger. The goal is to realize how often you give in to desires. We’ll have a small supper tonight.”
John left for school, and I sat down for a bit of quiet time before rousing my younger kids. My mind turned to what I was hungry for. Food wasn’t the half of it: I yearn for less chaos, more financial stability, greater influence over the decisions of others, faster progress in solving some pretty big problems. In short, I was hungry for more control over my life.
OK, Lord, I prayed, I will accept this hunger for what it is. I will not indulge in yearning today. When my heart turns to its human desires, I will redirect it to you. Help me hunger for you instead.
I finished my prayer, and sighed. Already, those beans smell mighty good.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.