Before I start, I want to make it clear that I don't consider myself a stellar example of my faith. I think the era I grew up in and the challenges I faced from chronic asthma molded my perspectives on my religion and spiritual life, so I know I see things in a rather unique way. I admire the people in my life--both my real life and my blog life--who are so knowledgeable and devout in their faith. They inspire me. I am but a humble Catholic. Some days I am humbler than others.
I have a special way of walking through Lent. I do make sacrifices sometimes--no chocolate one year, no frivolous shopping another year. This Lent I decided to try to do random acts of kindness. However, after many events in my life, these always seemed like "extras" for me. So every year I enter Lent with prayers to keep my eyes wide open for the lessons that will be thrown my way.
And they always are.
Lent has had a fair share of challenges this year. I've had a strong dose of six-year-old attitude. I spent several days shuttling my husband to work after his car broke down. This would not have been such a big deal if it hadn't come during a bout of sleepless nights. The kids were sick, then my husband was sick. I threw out my back. I struggled with caring for another stray cat that our five (yes, five) current cats did not care for. I'm still trying to find a home for him. I've also struggled with trying to get some of our bills down, something the car trouble and an extra cat didn't help. Through each challenge I've contemplated the lessons. Patience is usually the main one for me. I've come a long way, but I can still be pretty short-tempered when I'm stressed.
When my husband asked me to take him to the garage to pick up his car, I thought I had done pretty well. I had made it through all of the chauffeuring, the kids were feeling better, even the cats seemed to be tolerating each other... a little. Silly me. Lent wasn't over yet.
We got into the car to leave for the garage. It was dark. I backed out of my driveway. I didn't even see the black SUV behind me, parked in front of my neighbors' house.
Did I mention it belonged to my neighbors' brother in law? And that it was a four year old car that looked brand new because he takes such good care of it?
I was devastated. Here I was, trying my best, praying for strength and patience and trust, and I suddenly felt like someone pulled a rug out from under me. Dark thoughts were filling me and I was floundering to stay above them. I didn't even want to get back into the car the following day, but Chase had religious education that night and my husband doesn't usually get home in time to take him. As I drove home, I tried to focus on one thought, "Jesus, I trust in you," as I pushed away the negative whispers that tried to take hold of me.
And guess what happened? I came home as my husband was hanging up with the neighbors. They weren't too happy with their brother in law about giving us a hard time. They reminded him that last year there had been a similar accident where their car had crunched ours. When my husband called him, we found out that the damage was negligible, "a few scratches and a broken bumper clip I could pick up anywhere." Just when I felt pushed over the edge, God said, "I told you it would be alright!"
Recently, I had the opportunity to help a friend with my lessons. I want her to know I'm praying for her. I also want to mention that Lent is not over yet.
Last night Sierra came into the room with her hair tied back. It looked like a messy ponytail until you looked closely and realized that the front had been clipped. Although, clipped sounds neat and fixable. Chopped might be more appropriate.
We're going to spend the day trying on scarves and Easter bonnets. Hopefully we can at least hide the bald patches. And yes, Lord, I'm laughing. You have a wonderful sense of humor.