Lent is coming.
Historically (well, in my life) Lent has been a difficult time for me. I tend to associate it with loss and hardship. And frankly, let’s face it, Lent isn’t exactly a cheerful time in the Church! Statues are covered, there may or may not be Holy Water in the fonts and there is an air of solemnity during the Mass.
All this is appropriate, wonderful and meaningful. It certainly puts me in the correct mindset to think of the huge sacrifice Christ made for us. Yet when my mind is already sad and mourning, the weather is yuck and spring is fighting against the cold Polar Vortex… it’s easy to understand why I somewhat dread this Season.
In many ways, this past year has been Lent. There have been many prayers, many solemn hours and so much suffering. When people ask me what I am going to give up for Lent, I answer honestly, “I don’t know,” but in my head I scream, “My family has given up so much in the past year; don’t ask me to give up Facebook, sugar or coffee!” The thought of adding in something, even something good like more prayer time, paralyzes me. I cannot handle one more thing right now.
It is fitting, perhaps, that Lent 2014 will bring an end to the Year of Lent (2013). It’s six weeks of darkness, before the light breaks through and first year is almost over. After Lent, we will celebrate so much- our anniversary (on Easter Sunday!), Camille’s First Communion, the March for Babies. It will be spring and there will be flowers and bunnies and new life everywhere. But first… I will need to survive.
I need to survive the emotions that will come with (what should be) my niece’s first birthday. I need to balance grief and mourning and memories with the pure happiness that will come with celebrating my son’s tenth birthday. I need to prepare myself for Holy Week, knowing the tears will be as much about Christ’s suffering as they will be about the grief I feel, not only for me but for my family as well.
Lent is coming.
And I just need to survive until the Joy.