Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Lent had a different plan for me
My sweet husband has been working so hard on his dissertation this past month. My life has turned into what I call "single mom mode." It has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life (so far), physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically... and all the rest. I have a new found admiration and respect for military wives whose husbands are gone for a year at a time, and for those women who do not have a husband, and for those moms who have husbands who travel often to support their families. It has all been very eye opening for me.
Patrick recently read a book about a brave marine who pushed through a drug addiction to become one of the greatest men the marines has ever seen (even learning to be on the the best shooters with his left hand after his right hand was wounded). Patrick continued to tell me all about this book... but, he continued to mention the man's wife. She hung in there with him through every relapse, every deployment, every moment that was tough. And without her, the man would be nothing for sure. She pushed him and stood by him in the most difficult moments and with her there, he pulled through. It is inspiring. It inspired me this Lent, especially when I wanted to give up. A wife is always there. She stands strong so he can finish strong.
At the beginning of Lent I had high expectations for all the lovely things I was going to do to increase the holiness in my own soul. I would be giving up all my favorite things, reading an extraordinary book to help establish order in my life, and well, my life of virtue was going to go through the roof with all of the little extra acts of kindness and patience I was going to exemplify. Ha. Did I sure fool myself....
I was 2 weeks in when I finally bowed my head in desperation. I was anything but virtuous. I was yelling at my kids, being anything but patient, and I was angry that I had to be home ALL THE TIME by myself to do all the caring for, all the shopping, all the cooking and cleaning up, the laundry, the trash, etc. I was bitter and resentful. I was in a bad mood all day and SOO tired.
The Lord was very clear with me. My own personal Lenten plan was not a good one. I needed to refocus. My husband was working late for us... for our family... for our future... and he needed me. When I was on my way to throw in the towel, he told me he needed me, and by the grace of God, I responded. Christ was very clear that to get through the next 3 weeks, I most certainly would need my daily dose of chocolate, now was not the time to go gluten free and create beautiful meals, and my plan to become virtuous would not work without sleep.
So, new plan. Sleep was first again (I am always working on this). Patience was second. And lastly, was having lots of fun on purpose. It was embracing this cross with joy. It was accepting that I only had so many hours in the day and there would be a mess when I went to sleep, but only because I cared for my kids well and didn't busy myself with making everything perfect. It is truly embracing this cross. It is making my kids laugh as hard as they can. It is playing hide and seek, inviting a friend for dinner, lowering my voice, and making the time to take a nap. It is waking up in the morning and as grumpy as I feel, deciding to not be grumpy... the hardest part of my entire day.
I am often reminded during Lent that what Fr. Baker explained to us at the Lent by Candlelight is very true... the plan we have to make ourselves holy isn't always what God wants. He wants us to love better, even in the smallest way, in the very moment we are in. This has been very difficult for me. But, I am grateful to have a family who helps me, the best friends a girl could ask for, the happiest kids ever, a hardworking husband who tells me every day how much he appreciates me, and last but never least... Confession and the Eucharist. I will say those last ones again... Confession and the Eucharist. God's grace provides renewal for us and nourishment for us in these Sacraments.
Above, you will see the little men who are making me virtuous all day, every day. They are amazing.
In two weeks we defend this dissertation. I am so excited. I am so ready. PhD, here we come! And we await the Resurrection with great hope!