At the start of the journey

Lent is supposed to be hard.  It is supposed to be a time of trial and suffering and growth.

I get that.

But until now, I think I have only been okay with a scheduled Lent – a Lent that follows my rules and my patterns.  You can imagine how this goes. . .

This Lent has been difficult for me on the best days.  I can’t begin to understand WHY God planned us to be in CA for Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.  I mean I know we were supposed to be there and it was good, so very good, but I was frustrated and confused about how to do and celebrate all we do at home.

So I moped.

A lot.

And complained.

A lot.

Not that I didn’t love being with my family and in the sun and away from the demands of home but this wasn’t my plan.

I was in the middle of a full blown pity party when Jac pulled the plug. “What do you mean this isn’t a good Lent?  It’s a PERFECT Lent.  Isn’t this what it’s about?  Aren’t we all stranded, away from our home and waiting to get back? Aren’t we all just working towards that?  Seems like our situation is perfect.”

Grrr. . . sometimes I’d like for that guy to be a little less holy and perceptive and right.

And it was/is perfect.  The family fast we agreed on was to do without tv or video games or games on the ipods.  If we had been at home that would have been not so difficult, but in a hotel with 4 squirrely kids?  Sacrifice.

Beyond that, though, this Lent has taught me how willful I am.  Even before I read this from Fr. Tyler, I had been trying to put my finger on what it was that chaffed so bad.  It was the uncontrollable nature of EVERYTHING in our March that showed me how much I run the show without God’s help.  He is working on me and it is painful.  But when isn’t the Cross?

The blessings of this Lent have been plentiful, too.  The chance to be with Mama Syd and Papa Chris, Papa Bill and Aunt Cristie, Nana and Papa, the Wyeth’s, the Conways . . . wonderful.  We attended a family reunion and saw Aunt Susie and Paul.  We were there for Mama Syd’s play and then we saw Pirates of Penzance.  We had a glorious month of spring and warmth and the smell of California.  And we have learned, time and again, that even when it seems impossible, God provides for us in excess. In temporal AND eternal ways.  After all, he didn’t HAVE to send His Son to suffer and die, but he did and that opened an ocean of mercy for us.

More than we certainly deserve.

There are only a few lenten days left.  I feel unprepared for Holy Week and Easter and it’s causing all sorts of stress.  But I am striving to keep focused on letting the Lord direct my path and trusting him to bring me to the final destination.  I know he won’t disappoint.