“‘They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'” (Matthew 13:42)
I am slumped on the edge of her bed. Her teeth audibly grind together as her neck flushes with rage. She is five years old, and I’m struggling through my postpartum fog: Dada will be home soon. There is no sound like the sound of my daughter’s teeth scraping each other. Her brothers and dad are at the baseball game and her flippant yes to stay home with me and the baby led to a quick why have they abandoned me.
When Our Lord describes quite expressly to the Apostles what His parable means about the wheat fields, weeds, etc., I wonder if any of them had a teeth grinder in their lives. (Matthew 13:36-43) Maybe a parent of a noisy sleeper whose jaw sawed back and forth. Did this image also hit home for them?
As a mom of four little kids, I try to emphasize over and over again that our choices lead us to our eternal life. If we don’t choose love and to be loving when it’s hard (please, I know he popped your balloon on purpose but his neck still belongs to him), we aren’t choosing God. Those who cause others to sin and all the evildoers will be swept into this fiery furnace. So, what kind of choices do you want to make, kids?
And once the day of balloon popping and neck wringing and teeth grinding is over, I sit back in my bed, looking and longing for that escape. My Instagram feed. My favorite Netflix original series. My ice cream bowl (three scoops, please). Easier these than doing a Rosary and examination of conscience. I have ears; I should hear this Gospel parable and take it to heart. What kind of choices do I want to habituate?
Would I would rather an eternity with God or an eternity of grinding teeth?
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How are you living out your choices, sister? Are you listening with your ears and heart?
Nell O’Leary is a recovering lawyer turned blogger, speaker, and sewer of baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a iced chai tea latte in no time flat. Find out more about her here. She is the editor of the Blessed Conversations Series.