Well hasn’t this been the Lentiest Lent EVER???? I mean Lent is a time of reflecting on those 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting, all the while Satan tempted and tested Jesus. Lent is a time to reflect on that sacrifice… often times by fasting, giving up something special to you and abstaining from meat on Fridays. I think that about sums it up…
Looking back, I really wish I had partaken in a crazy and loud and crowded Mardi Gras celebration on Fat Tuesday… preferably somewhere warm. Let’s be honest, I freakin’ wish I had spent that time up to Ash Wednesday with some of my favorite people, drinking and dancing, collecting beads and stories… watching a parade full of grown ups in masks (I hate grown ups in masks…). I wish I was twirling on Bourbon Street… then entering Lent, what I now know is the Lentiest Lent EVER, exhausted from all that fun. Even thinking about that wish makes me excited for the time coming after this isolating time…
On Ash Wednesday I worked late and the girls were with Matthew, since I work in Albany, I googled Masses in Albany and headed to the Cathedral downtown. I got there just in time and ran in, laughing at a funny meme someone sent about how ‘if you are a Single Catholic girl today is the day God marks all the Catholic guys’ and I definitely looked around that Cathedral to see if God ‘marked’ anyone for me. I walked up the aisle and took my seat, the church was lit in a golden light, a bit coming in through the beautiful stained glass. The whole church was wrapped in incense, it smelled like masses at Sacred Heart when I was younger. I love mass in a big, very old church… especially when there is a full choir singing. It was a lovely mass, probably the most warm and homelike in a longtime (little did I know mass would become an at-home-activity…. In only moments…). Anyway, Ash Wednesday was the perfect mass, and I am so glad that I have that for the now… though I still wish I ROCKED out on Fat Tuesday… I was still so busy driving my kids to dance and basketball back then on Tuesdays I am sure New Orleans would not have worked anyway, right????
Then life moved and shifted and was pretty full in the ways that it is and blink – it was March… the best month in the whole year… my Birthday Month. I celebrate for the whole month because… it is also St. Patrick’s Day and Spring and my day tops it off on the 30th. It is the best way to come out of the hardest month for me… and I knew this year March was going to be amazing. I told myself that all winter… while I spent Thanksgiving with my sister and Benson, then we brought Christmas to Rochester for time with my family and our Benson… then New Year’s, a bit of lice, lots of cold and dark… but hey March is coming!!! Then our world shattered when Benson left us for heaven and Madeline… more dark and hard February times… but good gosh March is coming. We can get to the light… to the sunshine… to the celebration and spring and reminder that He suffered so Madeline and Benson could be enveloped by the Big Guy. Alas… March has been the least Marchiest March EVER!
We had the smallest St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and the same tiny party for my Birthday… and now we are repeating a tiny party of the same 2 kiddos as I have eaten with a millionish times this spring. The Marchiest March ever.
The funny, I guess we could call it funny, part of this Lent is that I chose NOT to give anything up this year. I decided to take on something, something that is hard for me, not to give up something. I chose to hold my rosary and say a decade of the rosary every morning, and beforehand talk to God and setting my intentions for that time. All things that have been hard for me these past years… staying still, setting intentions, and keeping my mind focused in one place. That was my Lenten sacrifice, a few minutes of time getting ready or working out to focus and pray. Then the world went and took away like a million things I love! I did not agree to give up hugs or friends or trips home or working at my cool standing desk with my awesome team… I did not give up going to Target and Hannaford and Michael’s and everywhere else I love to go… I did not give up my kids school day or Earth Day celebration. I did not give up my big freaking Birthday Bash that I would have gotten to twirl and dance with my friends until the Uber takes us home… I did not give up Easter celebrations with my girls grandparents on BOTH sides. The world changed this Lent, and it became the Lentiest Lent EVER!
The world changed… and it will, I hope, it will ultimately change for the better. I hope that people take this time of sacrifice and different and hard and let it do the work… the big work. I hope we become better humans through this, caring for others, maintaining our families and homes and dinner tables. I hope we fill our lives with less… less distractions, less filler. I hope we fill our lives with more… more connecting, more innovation, more creativity, more family. I hope that we rejoice at the end of this Lentiest Lent and we have a resurrection of sorts, like a 2nd Easter. I think I am game for a 2nd Easter in July… a time to gather and rejoice life and the amazing human spirit.
We have lost a lot in this… some more than others. I try to do my part to make the smallest footprint for Covid to connect to, I try to support others in this. It is a hard time, a time of sacrifice and pain, loneliness and loss for many, it is a time of reflection and missing… it has also been a time of Spring and weird little celebrations, togetherness and bits of poking and fighting, enjoying things we have and losing things we love… it is, as life always is, a mix of beautiful and painful- brutiful as Glennon says. This Lentiest Lent has made me dive into a lot of emotions and missing… to hold them, look at them, smile or cry and figure out where to put them… a far cry from the avoidance and numb state I have lived for a time.
Tomorrow we rejoice… tomorrow ends, well technically, the Lentiest Lent Ever. Tomorrow we rejoice the sacrifice and suffering that Jesus endured for us. We will get dressed up, ‘watch’ mass, take a walk at June Farms, visit Madeline and enjoy a dinner that I ordered (and do not need to cook, yay me!!!). The Easter Bunny will bring treats and hide eggs and inevitably spill his milk and leave a carrot mess on the table (he is kind of a jerk)… and we will celebrate. It will be different but parts will be the same…
Officially Lent is over and we move on to Ordinary Time, but I think we could look at the rest of these Covid Times like it’s own ‘Lent’ and endure sacrifice and suffering… and rejoice at the ‘Easter’ beyond. Enduring these Lentiest Lent times… to remember what is important in our lives, what we need in our lives and reflecting on the hard parts of this. I imagine… the feeling of hugs and laughs and bonfires… I look to those times… joy, togetherness, connection, all of it.
Happy Easter tomorrow, may you feel the joy in this day even at an unfilled table with a makeshift meal… may you feel ‘home’ and connection in these hard times, may you feel a bit of rejoice!