Lent started out sloppy for me.
I should have known lent was going to be a scary-mess this year when these guys were spotted on day One!
Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark is difficult to approach and seldom poses a danger to humans unless roused by food. However, people wading through shallow water are at risk of having their legs mistakenly bitten.
Umm, that’s where I spotted them…wading through the shallow water!!!
And that’s when it clicked! The first time.
Don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t been all bad.
There have been several beautiful moments for me, scattered & strung out together, throughout the lenten season.
I’ve just had to look a little more closely for them and
sort through the clutter to find the beauty.
This lenten season; however, has felt extremely awkward. Unusually abnormal. A spit-sputter start & stop motion. Just a downright gam!
Admittedly, I am a neat and orderly sort of person. So it is no wonder that my lenten experiences normally consist of detailed committed prayer, sacrifice and alms. I hold on to these commitments with a keen awareness, as an offering of gratitude for all my Savior sacrificed for my own salvation.
Does this happen perfectly??
But, imperfect though they may be, the commitments I make remain nonetheless -as I trudge on.
This year was different.
It was wishy-washy.
It was unkept.
It was truly a scary-mess!
That is until I began taking my frustration to prayer!
Primarily scolding myself for not making a clear commitment, exasperated with each passing day that I wasn’t offering a “good” lent, and vowing once again to “begin a proper lent” tomorrow – it was during this lamenting over my “terribleness” that God whispered to my heart:
“Remember the lessons I’ve been teaching you, my beloved. Most especially regarding indifference. Remember, St. Ignatius, who said: “We must make ourselves indifferent to all creation, to the extent that we do not desire health more than sickness, riches more than poverty, honor more than dishonor, a long life more than a short life, or anything at all in and of itself. We should desire and choose only what helps us attain the end for which we were created.” Remain indifferent, my dear one, even to your lenten expectations. I am with you child, and I gladly adjust your attitude. Be indifferent to circumstance, but attend to your friendship with me.”
And that’s when it clicked! The second time.
That’s when the mess ceased being scary.
Because I no longer desired beauty over the mess!
Instead, I recognized for the first time – that it was precisely because of the mess – that I was spending more time with God in prayer. I was running to Him daily, if only because of my lamentations. And that He & I were in a daily relationship with one another, which went far beyond my normal lenten sacrifices.
And isn’t that what He is always asking for from us? A committed daily relationship!
“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”Acts 17:27
I’m pretty certain I’ve never read in Scripture He yearns for us to give up chocolate for His sake!
Yet, He does continuously seek-out a relationship with us because He loves us.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5
And that’s when it clicked! The third and final time.
Lent is all about love.
As we begin to take the first steps in to the Easter Triduum, no matter how beautiful or how scary-messy our lent may have been, may we remember that Jesus sacrificed His life to redeem us – because He loves us. And He didn’t just use 40 days to remind us. He uses every day – and it’s waiting there for us to receive – each day we chose to be WITH Him!
hugs n’ blessings for all the life lessons that will “click” for you this Easter Season! Alleluia!