Our first stomach bug hit our family this week. It’s a miracle we’ve survived this long without one, really. My husband finally succumbed himself after caring for our invalid family all weekend and he is upstairs resting. The kids rebounded with enthusiasm but I’m still slowly recovering.
All of this preamble is to set the stage for why I find myself desperately serving reheated frozen pizza to my two charges on a weeknight, at the end of my patience. Mary, almost 4, wants to instruct me on the precise way to slice her precious pizza, but all I can think about is the couch I get to lie down on once dinner is served. “Hush! Just- HUSH!” I beg my child, who stops talking, glaring at me and folding her little arms in outrage. They eat their pizza, I put them to bed, and I collapse in a heap, replaying my words again and again in my head.
I can be such an awful mother, I allow myself to think.
Such thoughts are all too common for me. In this extraordinary Year of Mercy, I know that the person I need to forgive the most is myself.
In her talk for the Catholic Conference 4 Moms, Simcha Fisher gives practical advice about how to forgive, peppered with her trademark wit and candor. She compares forgiveness to the healing of an infection: healing does not take place all at once but rather cell by cell. Each day we must return to the problem and continue the process of forgiveness. Christ, the perfect Physician, can heal us and restore us if we allow Him, but we must keep coming back to it, day by day, cell by cell, like a patient attending to a wound care regimen.
Simcha explains we may be tempted to think that if we are still angry, we must not have forgiven properly. This temptation is a lie that can take away our hope of healing. What a relief! I am angry at myself every day! I have validly forgiven myself, I just have a long ways to go on my journey towards healing.
At the end of the talk, Simcha offers prayers we can say to God to help our healing process. I am a literal girl and I love homework assignments, so this might have been my favorite part of the talk. The prayer that spoke to my heart was, “God, help me to see myself as you see me.” Oof. I might need to pray that prayer for the rest of my life.
Don’t worry, I can hear Simcha’s gentle voice reminding me, cell by cell.