We’re more than half way through Lent… how’s it going?! What did you decide to give up/take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of the season?
This Lent started with what I realize now were rather *ahem* ambitious goals. I hung them up as my “Lent 2015 Plan for Bossness” on the wall next to the sink where I brush my teeth. I even went so far as to type out a Lenten holy things to-do list for each specific day of the week. I printed them out, crossed things off for a week or so . . .
And now those little papers are sitting (untouched) in my stack of papers.
Pretty much anyone who looked at my goals would know they were ridiculous. And I should have known it too. I did somewhere in the back of my head. God must have been chuckling a bit knowing instead of being a total boss at my epic plan, he would give me opportunities to be humbled.
To be honest, I was incredibly burnt out heading into spring break. Trying to be a boss at Lent and doing so many of my normal things at the same time can tire me out at times. And it did. In many ways.
From school I went home for about 24 hours because of a wonderfully generous offer to fly me back to meet people and make work connections. It was a lovely, packed, day. After that I took my first red-eye flight and then 3 more legs to New York to spend a week+ on a college student retreat and service work program run by the Sisters of Life outside of NYC at a retreat house.
And you know those times when you just know you’re where you’re supposed to be? This was one of them.
It felt pretty crazy to fly clear across the country by myself to spend 10 days with people I had never met. The flights were stressful because of some being delayed and having to sprint to make the next ones. I was so worn out that I ended up in tears at some point. On a plane. Thankfully I was able to pull myself together and made it to the lovely retreat house.
I was completely disconnected from the internet for the week (which was expected). And when I checked my phone at night, I gloriously didn’t have 20 texts to attend to. This time was truly a gift I was more than happy to take advantage of.
It was beautiful to have time to forget about homework and remind myself of what is important in life. We helped at many places around NYC, including a place for the homeless and one of their convents where pregnant moms stay with them. We went to Mass and did liturgy of the hours with the sisters each day. And a holy hour most days.
That time in adoration was calming and refreshing. I needed it. During the 1.5 day long of silence (as a retreat), I seriously spent 6 out of like 21 hours in the presence of JESUS. Oh yeah! And I was so struck during that time how much God loves me. Personally. As Laura.
Throughout the week, the sisters and the talks just kept affirming the worth of the human person. And so many times people touched on our worth for who we are (children of God created in his image), not what we do. We need to be more, not do more, they said. And that’s probably when God chuckled again and I got another serving of humble pie.
It was fabulous.
I’ve written on those topics and put much of my time into affirming other people. But over this break I realized how essential it is to maintain this level of contentedness within myself. After all, we can’t give what we don’t have, right? I had been going into debt trying to give what I didn’t have. So…
I just sat there and basked in Jesus’ love. It’s pretty amazing, folks, how he loves us unconditionally. It was one of those times where I was reminded how faith is an encounter with Jesus, not just something in my head. To know I am loved put a smile on my face.
And now, looking at Lent, it seems like a total failure because I haven’t done everything I said I would. But you know what has happened? One of those times of conversion of heart. I could have just floated on clouds when it clicked how much I am loved. If I could whistle, I might have done that going down the hall to bed. But I can’t whistle. So scratch that.
This Lent has had its ups and downs. And I am so thankful for both. What a glorious thing it is to know more deeply God’s love!