Monday, March 28, 2016

Not Our Normal Lent

Not Our Normal Lent
Prints of Grace © 2016 Trisha Niermeyer Potter
Media: watercolor paints & colored pencil

I never once got to the Stations of the Cross and only made it to Reconciliation once during Lent.  Sickness, injury, stress, exhaustion, and being in survival mode in some ways brought me closer to Christ’s suffering.  I had ample time and occasion to consider how circumstances outside of His choosing and mine would affect the choices I made, how I responded to different situations, and how I would treat people, particularly those who were also struggling. 

My meditation on God’s mercy and Christ’s sacrifice led me to thoughts of reconciling with my father and being one of his main caregivers during the last few years of his life.  I also thought about my Godfather’s life and prayerful legacy, which I am certain greatly influenced my healed relationship with my dad.

I never once made it over to the abortion clinic to join my mom and other prayer warriors as part of 40 Days for Life this spring.  I prayed from home for them and had it on my heart quite often to pray for a couple I know and love facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Some years I have created homemade Easter cards to give and send out.  That didn’t happen this year.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids where I worked make brightly colored Easter eggs with the materials I brought in from home.  They had fun hiding them in different places and getting their friends and me to find them.  My favorite was the Easter egg with a little Easter bunny popping out of the top that a clever elementary school girl taped so it was hanging upside down under one of the lunch tables.    

When I mentioned being bummed that I have been too sick to participate in the Easter Triduum this year, my mom responded that I’m living it.  I hadn’t really thought about it that way.  This Lent has certainly been a time of trial.  Though I didn’t give up desserts (my diet is already pretty strict) or commit to an additional l daily prayer practice, I kept in mind that the things I was doing to take care of and/or be present to others counted as my Lenten observance, especially when it took every last ounce of energy I had remaining. 

Much of my "community outreach" and “volunteering” has been chosen for me lately.  When I have seen a need that others aren’t meeting, I try to step in particularly when children, the elderly, and/or those in fragile health are concerned.  

I've always been a stickler for safety as my parents and employers will attest.  I try to be proactive in addressing safety and health issues.  I'm a firm believer that children shouldn't be crash test dummies, but sometimes there are just too many for me to do anything about without some significant assistance and cooperation.  More on that later.  

Throughout the Christmas and Lenten seasons, I was beating myself up over not visiting our neighbor more often when she was in rehab after breaking her hip, but then it dawned on me that I was there for her when she really needed me. She and the EMTs didn't think she'd broken anything when she fell a couple days before Christmas, so they offered to put her in her bed and leave.  She is already disabled, lives alone, and they'd had to break into her apartment to get to her, because the door had been locked, so I voted against that option.  I insisted she go to the hospital and said I'd go with her.  It turns out she did break her hip and needed emergency surgery.      

Kevin and I both made it to Mass on Palm Sunday, but I haven't been back to church since then. I was determined to make it through my last week at a particular job without calling in.  Fortunately, during Holy Week, they were kind enough where I worked to let me have a bit longer breaks during my split shift so I could go home nap/rest and eat before working the rest of the day.  I know I couldn’t have made it through otherwise.  Having to be at work at by 6:45am and not off until between 5-6:30pm, I would have collapsed without that extended mid-day reprieve. 

Lord, thank You for opportunities to serve you, occasions to pray, and sacrifices to offer beyond what I felt up to committing to at the beginning of Lent.  Please help me continue to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit this Easter season.
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