Psst. Hey! How’s Lent working out for you?
So far, I’ve managed to determine that my capacity to deny myself is woefully lacking. I’ve gained four pounds. Fridays have been particularlly hungry days when I haven’t exactly put on the joyful mask for fasting or even abstaining. The rosary I planned to say daily, well I’m about a week or two behind, let’s say three days to four out of the week it gets said on the fly while I’m driving or taking out the garbage or making the beds and adoration only made it onto the schedule because it was prescribed as penance. Three pages of the spiritual book I’d chosen as a guide for the 40 days have been skimmed but I cannot recall a word. (I fell asleep). Flailing like crazy does not sound like the way one should be when seeking to go out in the desert of one’s spiritual life, but it aptly describes my Lenten journey thus far.
The other day, getting everyone dressed was a major ordeal. Someone couldn’t find their shoes, another couldn’t find socks, a third needed a different shirt and the fourth was running low on skirts she liked wearing.
The next day fixing breakfast was hard. We’d ordered groceries to be delivered for that evening, but had to limp through breakfast. Some had leftover flan. Some had oatmeal. With such limited options, I still had one daughter who will not eat oatmeal or flan. I offered to make eggs. Four eggs were frozen and two were cracked and frozen to the carton, but we limped through. Naturally, two others at home wanted eggs too. While I was fixing eggs, my five year old daughter tried to be helpful. She took the last of the cereal and poured it in a paper bowl for her brother who was sitting in his high chair awaiting his meal. Within seconds of her good deed, the bowl and it’s contents were scattered across the kitchen. He dumped his sippy cup of soy milk for good measure.
As I frantically tried to clean up, he rubbed the remainders of his drink and food in his hair. Now the night before, a tomato pot fell into my bathtub
killing the seedling and making my bathroom a dirty mess. I forgotten about that until this morning when I went to give my son a quick bath to get him ready for a 10 o’clock speech appointment. Instant mud. Scrambling to get them all dressed and wiped down, the floor clean and table at least not sticky before she arrived, I can’t say I offered it up. I can’t say I prayed through it. I can say, it got done.
Loading the car today was hard. We needed gas, we were running late and for the third time, I’d stowed all the winter coats only to get socked again with a 40-60 degree pouring down nasty rainy day. Today God, everything stunk even though I could see that everything did not in fact stink, that it was me having a hard time because I just wasn’t feeling particularly dutiful. Today everything I didn’t want to do needed immediate one on one careful attention or it would implode. And eventually, that everything included me. We know that suffering can bring us to Christ; and I know I suffer the least, mine is an easy burden to care for a lot of people that love me; but for all that, all this mess and minutia can bring me to my knees.
But the poorness of my Lenten attempts to be less worldly culminated in mass on Palm Sunday with me alternately whispering in less than dolcet tones at my younger ones that were playing with the palms, and glaring at the older ones who were doing the same thing. I know, I am not ready. Next weekend is Easter and I know I know I know I am not ready for that but at the same time, man the one thing I do know is how do I need Easter. How I need Easter. And that moment of knowing, of thinking how I needed Easter, brought the peace that doing everything properly could not have (for I would have perhaps been proud of making a good Lenten sacrifice), and the grace of knowing that screwing up was why we needed Easter in the first place.
Copyright 2011 Sherry Antonetti