I am looking forward to Lent this year. Truly. What a blessing it is that the Church gives us the cycle of the Liturgical Year, with the beginning of each season like a port of call, where we can clamber aboard our spiritual vessel once more!
As a child growing up, I was in a military family. As I got older, I started looking at those inevitable moving days as an opportunity to start fresh. It was a gift -- an uprooting that made growth possible. Now that I have settled down quite firmly and no longer have the chance to make a clean break and start fresh in a new place, my heart often misses those days. I have caught myself looking for watershed moments in other places: the changing of the quarters or semesters in our homeschool, and most especially in the turn of the seasons of the Liturgical Year. Lent, more than any other season, is the chance to uproot the old and stale habits and let new ones bud out and flower. Fasting becomes a symbol of letting go of all those things that tie us down in the spiritual life. For me, so often either pregnant or nursing during this season, actual fasting hasn't been much of an option, so I have to look to other sacrifices to fulfill this purpose.
This Lent, I'm once more nourishing another little life, so I must forgo the fast. But I hope that as I give up the sweet and sugary things from which I too often seek comfort, I will reach instead for true consolation - true sweetness - that fills the soul but not the stomach! As I give up a little extra sleep to meet the Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I pray that I will find true rest in His peace and grace.
There are so many things that fell out of our routine with the arrival of our youngest child! The proverbial wheels came right off the wagon. As we adjust to the "new normal", I'm taking the start of this Lent as the moment to reassemble the wagon. Perhaps we don't need wheels any longer. I'm thinking hover technology with a jet engine might be more appropriate at this point. But I want to redouble our efforts, especially in our homeschool, to bring back on board some of the things that got jettisoned in order for me to keep my sanity.
Little by little, I must remind myself. Small steps, but steps upward and onward nonetheless!