Going to Mass Wednesday was quite the surreal experience. I sat, well stood mostly to keep the baby content, with my beautiful family and felt the solemnity of the day. Father C.Y. reminded us to fast, not just from food, but from all that keeps us from God.
As I received my ashes and was reminded that I will return to dust one day, I could not help but think of my mom. She has been on my mind quite often lately. We are approaching one year since she has passed and I find myself reliving last year over and over again. Thoughts about what I was doing this exact day last year. Did I realize how short my time with her was? Did I honor her enough? Or did I let my selfish nature get in the way? I remember feeling angry that she was in the hospital so much. That I just wanted to relax at home with the kids. That I was so sick from my newly discovered pregnancy and I was too tired to go back downtown. I did spend most every day with her the last few weeks, but what was the spirit of my heart?
Lent reminds us to turn away from sin and return to the Lord. All of the things I am "sacrificing" are actually the things that take the place of Him. Instead of praying through a moment when I become frustrated or angry, I eat chocolate. Not the best for spiritual health nor physical. More importantly, not a very good commentary on my Christian life.
I am reminded by my mother's death that our time here is so short. She is gone and though it feels like she is only a phone call away, I must accept that she is not. Her cremated remains still sit in my closet because I am unable to let her go. She has returned to dust in spite of my will for her. She, as I knew her, no longer exists. I can hold onto her ashes for all eternity, but she will never return to them. She is not there. She is basking in the glory of God. She is sitting at the feet of Jesus, healthy, happy, and healed.
The last few days have been uncomfortable. I hesitate to say painful because during this time of the year, I am reminded that Christ endured the most pain of all. He withstood pain, hunger, thirst, and most of all temptation whilst He stayed in the desert for 40 days. He felt the pain of each of our sins in the garden of Gethsamne, so much so that He sweat blood. He even asked His father to spare Him the horrible pain that He knew He was to endure, but ultimately accepted His fate because of His love for us. He willingly took the crucifixion that you and I are saved by. I can not compare my discomfort with His pain.
I am choosing to embrace my times of strife with gladness. This is called joyful suffering and I am willing to endure it for the sake of our world. For the sake of my sins, for the sake of my Lord, I will walk through the valley.
For by His stripes, I am healed. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.