"Eric! Leave the room"
(Note: The above should be pronounced in ringing tones with rolling of the R's accompanied by a scandalized expression for full effect - see example A).
Somewhere within my extended family there is some poor, poor man called Eric. All I ever heard about him was that if there was any unfortunate noises or smells during dinner, those words were spoken. I have no further knowledge of him whatsoever. For all I know, he could have gone on to do amazingly great things, but THAT is what he is immortalized for in my family. Sorry Eric.
We all have our scapegoats though, don’t we? I blame everything on my ADD or post-chemotherapy brain damage - before that it was “mum-brain”. I do enjoy hearing a really good excuse. Children are particularly good at it. I recently heard someone small say “I only didn’t win because I didn’t finish first”. Brilliant!
I’m giving up my excuses for Lent, and with it, comparisons. Personally, I find the two go hand in hand. When I’m bemoaning the fact that I’m not doing a job very well, I generally look at my neighbor and ask myself why I can’t be more like them? They have a clean house, a job and children. They seem to manage to cook without setting off the smoke detector and don’t have an ever-present spot on their shirt where they’ve frantically tried to scrub off some stain before rushing from the house in the morning.
My mother was the same – she always regretted not being the sort of mum who would pile the four kids in the wood-paneled station wagon and whisk us off to museums and historical sites while packing hummus and carrot sticks for lunch. But for me – every time I think of my mum (which is every time I see myself in the mirror since I’m slowly morphing into her – luckily she’s beautiful – and she will read this...) anyway, when I think of mum I THANK GOD she was not like that. I think I would have shriveled up and died! I’m quite sure my siblings would too. That environment would not have suited us. At all. We don’t do well with close shepherding and every one of us, when presented with a new game, would immediately refuse to play it if the word “educational” was on the box no matter how much “fun” was supposedly involved. Yes, I do realize in some respects we probably shot ourselves in the foot somewhat, but it’s the way we’re made.
So, during Lent I will neither blame my lack of perfection on anything nor compare my achievements to anyone else's. Judgy McJudgerson is taking a Lenten holiday.
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.…” Psalm 139:13