I am as changeable as the weather as my grandmother would say. One day, I am spouting off about how I will not make my parenting decisions based on what everyone else is doing and that I don’t care if so-and-so is allowed to do whatever, we will do what we believe is right and not just what everyone else is doing. The next day, I am beside myself with worry that my children will be left out and lonely. That they really will turn out to be the weird, unsocialized, home schoolers we always joke that they are.
One minute, I’m telling my kids to get used to the idea that life is not fair because life is not supposed to be fair and it is not all about what we want to do, the next I am getting upset about how unfair my life is when I have to wash another sink full of dishes or referee another disagreement between my children.
One minute, I am complaining about all the messes all over my house and the clutter I feel I am drowning in. The next minute, I am tossing another bit of junk on the mounting pile of papers on my kitchen counter or adding to the jumble of useless stuff in my junk drawer.
I wonder, sometimes, why is it so hard to practice what I preach? Why is it so hard to follow through on doing what I know is right? Why do I struggle so much to live the life I know I should?
Maybe it is ironic that I am thinking all about this at this time of year. We are right in the middle of Lent. And Lent gives us such a wonderful opportunity to look at our weaknesses and struggles so we can bring them to God.
My family has attended the Stations of the Cross at a local Catholic church every Friday during Lent for years now. The “Stations” are all about Christ’s journey to Golgotha and our yearly participation in praying them is something we look forward to each year during Lent.
As we follow and pray through the Way of the Cross and truly reflect on Jesus’ Passion, I am always touched by it. In the Passion, I see weakness and perfect strength meet face-to-face. I see real sacrifice and real suffering, and Christ’s amazing love and mercy that are truly unending. I see that life is not fair- even for Jesus- yet there is so much to be grateful for. I see the value of facing and standing up to real unfairness in the world. I see Jesus never faltering, even as He fell over and over again. He was never inconsistent in His determination to see His mission through. He never lost sight of serving His Father, or of saving us from our own sinfulness.
I was really looking forward to this Lent. I knew I needed this season. I was not necessarily anticipating a time of contemplation though. I was mostly looking forward to the opportunity for greater self-discipline. I knew I needed that. But now, I wonder if maybe Jesus is using this time to give me an opportunity to grow in wisdom and understanding as well.
As much as I was looking forward to Lent, when finally Holy Week ends and Easter is upon us, I am sure I will be just as anxious for the end of my sacrifices (and I am sure I will be desperate for some chocolate). Maybe, I will also be a little wiser for my own (little) journey of sacrifice and contemplation. Maybe, I will even be a little more consistent in my thoughts and my choices.