"Mom, what are you giving up for Lent?"

Mother's Love: artist Claudia Tremblay
My dark-haired daughter asked me this yesterday. My immediate response, with no thought was, "my daughter."

You see, my curly-haired daughter and her husband are moving 1000 miles away. On Friday. So, I'm giving up my daughter for Lent.

I am so happy for them: he has a new job that really taps into his talents and the pay is excellent. His parents re-located there about a year or so ago, and I know it's been hard on them as both their families are here. My daughter and her husband have an excellent financial plan to get rid of their debt over the next three years. It really is good.

But: they will be 1000 miles away.

My heart is a little broken. I know they don't understand my tears (yes, I bawled last night as I held her tight), and they probably won't understand them for another 25 years, when their baby loads up a car and pulls away.

150 years ago, this move probably would have been final. How many times in history did a mother say good-bye to a child and then never see them again? Letters had to suffice. Today, with Skype and Facebook and phones and ease of travel, we will see each other quite frequently.

But she will be 1000 miles away.

That distance precludes an impromptu mani-pedi on a Saturday afternoon. She won't show up at my office with lunch. I can't invite them over for dinner tomorrow.

They are at such a beautiful time in their lives: still newlyweds, able to pick up and go. Adventure awaits. They have will mountains and beaches and oceans and little responsibility. So many new things to learn about themselves, each other, the world.

Yet, a mother's heart aches. It's a little broken ... again. What am I giving up this Lent? My daughter. But in my sorrow, I wish them joy and happiness and fun. It's just that I'm hurting. It's the price of love.

Every Scar For Him


We all live with the scars we choose. (from Sugarland's "Take Me As I Am")

Folks with tattoos know that their skin tells a story. I don't have tattoos, but I have a lot of scars.

Some of my scars are ridiculously small: a mole removed, a cut from a knife. Then there are the others: my scar on my left arm from a fall from a horse. My scars from endometriosis: right down my belly. Now, scars on my back.

With my fair and tender skin, I form keloids, so my scars are really noticeable. I guess I could get all vain about them, but I chose them. Theses scars tell a story about me.

When Kimberly Hahn (apologist Scott Hahn's wife) had a c-section, she was quite upset about the scar. She told her husband that she thought that, in Heaven, her body would be made "whole" again, without the scars. He said no - you'll still have those scars. They are the story of your commitment to Christ. Just as the Resurrected Christ bore the wounds of His Crucifixion, our bodies (united in Christ) will bear the scars we chose in our lives.

Now, I'm not saying that having scars makes you a Christian. But offering up the suffering involved with each scar does unite us to Christ. Before I had this last surgery, I prayed: "Jesus, in case I forget in my pain, I offer you all my suffering. Unite it with your Sacred Heart. Use it as you will."

In the scheme of things, my suffering isn't much. There are so many people who suffer much in our world. But when we give our pain and our suffering to Christ, it is magnified. It is made magnificent.

“Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11)

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