When Helen was a toddler, we instructed her that if she was tempted to touch something that might be off limits, she should just come and get one of us so we could help her through making the right choice.
One day, while shopping in Ann Arbor, we were in a store full of breakable eye candy. I was busy admiring one thing, Richard another, when above the mellow harpsichord Muzak track, our two-and-a-half-year-old Helen stood beside her stroller, paralyzed, bouncing in place bellowing, “Help me! I’m tempted! I’m tempted!”
Now, soon off to school, we won’t be there to help her through all the trifling and tremendous moments of temptation. She surely will face many lures and promises of this world that we’ve tried so hard to balance through our faith and family life.
We’ve all been in the position of confusing a temptation with an opportunity. And the reality is, sometimes by giving in to those temptations we’re bound to make mistakes. But by the same token, we should never be bound to our mistakes, understanding that it is through our mistakes we discover more about ourselves and grow. There are many mistakes in my life for which I am grateful. It is through them that I’ve grown closer to the Lord, with the extra-added benefit of knowing myself better and gaining wisdom through the process. Wisdom that I hope I’ve shared with our daughter.
We can only hope that we’ve done what we can and given Helen the tools to sort things out. We can only hope and pray her decisions don’t paralyze her and that she will do her best to make the right choices. Although we won’t be there in person with her, we’ve taught her that God will.
Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations. — St. Augustine