Realization of the day/week/decade:
I lack discipline.
OK, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t just realize this. I know my faults. And disciplining – myself, others, my dog – is not my strong suit, and I’ve known that for a while.
What really struck me today is this – most of the pain I’ve caused myself and others has been a direct result of my lack of discipline.
I’ll spare you all my personal details, but isn’t that really the truth for each of us? We eat too much, drink too much, talk too much. We spend too much, shop too much, goof off too much, spend too much time on facebook instead of doing laundry and getting the children ready for school. (Gee, I said I wasn’t going to share my personal details, but I just couldn’t help myself! See what I mean?)
All sin is really rooted in a lack of discipline, right? I mean, if Eve had just refrained from snacking on the apple (didn’t she know she shouldn’t eat between meals?) all would be fine now.
But we lack discipline.
To be honest, I like that I’m pretty easy going and creative. I pride myself on my ability to bounce back when faced with challenges. I like that I’m not so caught up with schedules and rules that I don’t know how to have fun.
But the downside (and there’s always a downside, isn’t there?) of my fun-loving personality is that I sometimes don’t know how to get the job done. It’s easy for things to get out of control.
I wish I could be more like Fr. Acerbi, a PIME priest I’ve heard stories about. He was so known for his self-discipline that the Chocolate Chip Incident has become somewhat of a legend.
It seems that Fr. Acerbi allowed himself one small dessert-type treat a day. One particular afternoon, the House cook prepared a delicious batch of homemade cookies. Fresh from the oven, their aroma filled the halls. One of the priests sneaked back into the kitchen to take a sample, offering to fetch one for Fr. Acerbi as well.
His response: “No thank you, I’ve already had my dessert today.”
Huh? Not even a nibble? Come on, you’ve got to be kidding me!
I never met Fr. Acerbi, but his story has been shared because his self-discipline extended beyond the realm of baked goods. His life was filled with examples of this kind of behavior. I find that extraordinarily inspiring.
It’s inspiring because it’s possible. It’s possible to discipline oneself, and to avoid the pain and suffering that goes with an undisciplined life.
Next time I encounter a cookie/sale/extra glass of wine that I just can’t resist, I’m going to think about Fr. Acerbi, and take a baby-step in self-control. At least I’m going to try.
For fun: fourth column, eleventh from the top