Today’s text comes from Rachel, a wife and mother living in Northern Serbia with two young children.
One of the wonderful aspects of this pandemic is that so many people are choosing to find the humor in a difficult situation, which has produced many hilarious memes. One I came across the other day said simply, “I hadn’t planned on giving up quite so much for Lent.” After laughing out loud and forwarding it to everyone I know, I started thinking about how well it applied to me. This year I gave up a few food groups for Lent and added in some spiritual practices, and as the situation has escalated, I have thought many times about how “perfect” the timing has been.
Just when I needed food for my soul, I have daily doses of the Psalms, each perfectly selected, as though by someone who knew just what I needed to hear, whether comfort, perspective, or motivation. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, today’s Psalm (116) reminded me.
Just when I needed help making sure I don’t spend the whole quarantine baking and eating, I have rules which I committed ahead of time to abiding by for six weeks.
Just when my two pre-school aged children interrupt me for the 100th time as I try to get something productive done and I desperately want to run away or turn to some chocolate for comfort, I am forced to turn inward, examine the source of my frustration, and draw strength from my spiritual journey to change my attitude, alter my tone, and respond with love.
Just when I feel myself filling with irritation as friends complain on social media about not knowing what to watch next on Netflix during their relaxed coronavirus-induced staycation, my almost-5-year-old says, “mommy, when I’m as big as you I will still be your little boy,” and my heart melts and I repent of my bitterness over being exhausted doing more work with less help while other friends sleep in, spring clean, exercise, watch TV, or catch up on reading. By adjusting my attitude and getting creative, I have even managed to find a little time for a few of those activities myself.
While during the first week or two of this new normal it felt like each of these recalibrations required Herculean effort, as time goes on, this mindset has become more natural and the shifts less dramatic.
As Lent comes to an end, the end of our collective isolation still appears to be nowhere in sight, however I hope that the lessons learned during this liturgical period will continue to give us strength as long as this strange, unfamiliar, paradigm-shifting, life-altering experience may last!