And suddenly it’s March! Nearly mid-March! And Lent!
My birthday has come and gone, and I’m another year older.
Christmas day marked the arrival of respiratory illnesses and allergies that would remain with our family for 2 months. I began the serious work of designing an exhibit for a small museum, a dream of mine fulfilled. Simultaneously my 19 month old daughter’s back molars—yes, her final set of teeth, the ones most children don’t get until 2 or 3—began erupting. What was once a (somewhat) balanced and ordered life became intensely out of sorts.
It’s tough to complain. In fact, I’m not supposed to complain. I gave it up for Lent. I’m in the middle of my life’s work, the greatest work of my life, my dream jobs—historian and mama—and am loving every moment. Really. I promise. I actually have moments in the midst of intense work—whether that be crafting a series of captions to accompany artifacts and period photographs OR making the letter sounds and offering a bit of guidance here and there as my daughter completes her alphabet puzzle—when I literally say out loud, “This is so much fun! I love this. I’ve waited so long to do this.” Life is truly amazing, and God is good.
Yet even in the midst of this great joy I have moments of great anxiety. Life is very full right now. So full that much of it is often in disarray. This is natural. I work, I mother, and I struggle, as do we all. The house looks like a 19 month old baby and a dog and two non-Type A people reside here. Who isn’t tired these days? Who doesn’t have a never-ending to do list? I think of the projects I want to do and don’t get to. I aim too high. I get ambitious and then disappointed.
I have to remind myself that I am living my life right here. Now. I must pause—I have to pause—for prayer. If not, I am no good for anyone and certainly not myself. Prayer must be part of every day for me, scattered throughout the hours, as natural as brushing teeth or cooking dinner.
Have you ever been so exhausted you can’t seem to muster up the strength to cook dinner?
Sigh. So I need a routine. And nothing ambitious. Something simple, readily available, and easy to implement. I see all kinds of wonderful Lenten studies and groups out there. But I know in my heart in this season what is best for me.
The Magnificat Lenten app on my phone. My phone is always with me. I can sneak a glance at it while playing blocks or pushing the stroller on our walk. For a few moments when we pull into a parking space and she is restrained and content, I can scroll through the readings.
Morning prayers. Mass Reflection. Evening Prayers. Night prayers. My soul craves these things, longs for this order, the regular reminder of God’s presence in my life.
The liturgy of the hours makes order out of chaos and shines light in the darkness of fatigue and angst. These prayers slow down the rush and bring me back to what really matters. This universe was created by God, and as mad and paradoxical as the universe may seem, His wisdom and order binds it all together. Why not bring some of that to my own small, humble, personal universe?
Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
For you are God my savior.
In you I hope all day long
Because of your goodness, O Lord.
The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray
he guides the humble in the right path;
he teaches his way to the poor.