Lent is almost here. Are you ready? Before I became Catholic, I really didn’t pay too much mind to the 40 days preceding the Easter season. We were really more focused on the Easter celebration. If it’s really, truly possible to narrow down why I love the faith so much, this is it. Lent. Forty days of honest, raw, self-introspective, shedding all the ickiness and getting back to the basics kind of love. I’ve found myself appreciating Easter all the more because of what’s beginning on Wednesday.
I think it is incredibly easy to get sucked into the vortex of crap. There’s after-school activities. Homework. Housework. Playdates. Nights out. Coordinating calendars between kids, work, hubby and school (can you say, nightmare??) Bills. Work. The never-ending list of recorded shows on the DVR. Coming up with creative status’ on your FB feed. You feel me?
And along comes Lent. Time to look in the mirror and get refocused on what matters. What matters is different for all of us. For me, this year, it’s about gratitude. Scott once shared a great quote he heard at a stewardship conference: “A grateful heart silences a complaining voice.”
In the last year, I have had so many prayer requests from friends – loss of a spouse, death of a child, a cancer diagnosis, cross-country moves, broken hearts, broken bodies, broken spirits. Quite honestly, I think my eyes were opened when Luke entered our lives, to the pain people feel just making it day to day. How naive. I never understood, empathized and “got it” until then. My last two years have been my perpetual 40 days. We’ve just been surviving. Trying to put one foot in front of the other while continuing on with life. Sometimes we put on a good show.
But then there’s the day like yesterday when I just felt the wall of Luke’s many challenges hit me smack in the face. I called my Hand to Hold mentor and awesome Christian woman, Kelli, and she talked me down from the ledge. Well, her and a 70% off sale at Dillards. Retail therapy, you know. Folks, I was seriously losing it.
In that moment, as I finished wiping away my tears in the mall parking lot, my Lenten promise was affirmed. Gratitude. Gratitude and thankfulness for so many things. And that is what I’ll be focusing on this Lent. It transcends so many areas of my life. It makes me unafraid to voice my beliefs, it makes me confident in the person God created me to be and it makes me thankful for the many, many amazing friends God has bestowed upon my family.
So, whether you’re Catholic or not, I say jump on the Lenten bandwagon. Find a way – through prayer, fasting and almsgiving – to have the courage to look in the mirror and face the music. I’m exciting about what I’ll be doing for the first time in a really, really long time. More details coming on March 23 when I blog about it at Catholic Mothers Online.
40 days baby, bring it.