I'm sure my daughters are just like those of others, who thorough out the day find some reason to torment each other, but unlike other times I actually had caught a “teachable moment” about penance that fell together on the fly.
While my youngest daughter “C” (two years old) was sent to timeout for some transgression I can't even remember, “B” (four years old) took the opportunity to lift her sister's last Skittle, which was purple, and likely tasted of intense grape (I love those)! As I walked pass the scene of the crime, “Oh, well...What am I going to do?” crossed my mind, and I nearly avoided the whole situation. But, since I am taking to heart the idea and importance of my role in the Domestic Church, I couldn't just walk by and do nothing.
B was relishing the moment, as we have all done, when thinking we got away with something minor until her eyes met mine. “Hon, that was your sisters” to which she cleverly replied, “I was going to ask her, but you told me not to talk to her in timeout, remember?” She had a point, but she was missing mine, and I knew it was just an excuse, though a good one at that. As she held her last grape lollipop in hand, mid-stride up to her mouth until she was caught, I gave her the task of thinking how she was going to get her sister's candy back. Of course, she informed me she ate it and couldn't do anything about it. So, I turned up the heat just a little. “Well, just sit there and think about how to replace it.” Creatively, she came up with a plan I quickly terminated, “Well, at the next party I go to...” she attempted.
It took a few minutes to realize she was not going to volunteer her own lollipop, and as much as it pained me, it had to happen. As C returned from timeout, B handed over her grape lollipop and the tears began to flow from B as the smiles flowed from C. My heart was broken as I saw how much B was looking forward to making that grape lollipop last and last for the remainder of the afternoon. C gladly accepted her sister's penance, and began to indulge, and I am sure not taking in any of what was happening with B.
B quickly ran to my arms and jumped in my lap, and my heart felt heavier as I realized how even we, as adults, run to the Lord when we have made a terrible choice in life and want to have things return to the way the were, only to realize he loves us, but we still have to accept the consequences for our actions. “Hon, taking what is not ours results in giving back what was lost, and then some.” I could see in her watery eyes this made some sense, while still not wanting the reality as it was, “But, I still want it.” “I know, Hon...” With a longer hug, and some rubbing of her back, she soon after gave her firm commitment through the tears, as I know I have in the confessional, “I won't do it again...”
The tears abated with continued hugs and gentle guidance, as I watched the grape lollipop disappear in C little hand, only to leave its purple mark around her little mouth. I am sure this will not be the last time I teach about confession, penance and restoration, as I am sure the Lord will not be lacking for opportunities to teach me in our Domestic Church.