“Global warming, my ass!” This is the response a friend sent when I shared the following tweet from our local ABC affiliate, WRTV:“@rtv6: Record low for Indianapolis tomorrow is 2 degrees set in 1873. That record is very much in jeopardy.”Another pal texted, “Why do we keep breaking all these crappy records?! SERIOUSLY…I need sun and heat!”
I admit, the 55 inches of snow we have received in Indianapolis this year is making me start to wonder whether the locusts are next. I know I am supposed to wake thanking God for the day, but I am feeling something less than gratefulness. It’s March 4th and it’s 11 degrees outside. I just want sunshine and a temperature warm enough to take a walk outside without my nostrils freezing when I inhale.
So, what’s my point?
Well, besides being another in a long line of frigid days, it’s also Fat Tuesday—Mardi Gras! Meaning what? It’s our last day to “revel” before 40 days of penitence, sacrifice during the season of Lent? Umm. This thought is a major struggle for me.
Here’s what I’m really feeling: I’m fat and it IS Tuesday. That’s about the only commonality between “Mardi Gras” and the space I am this day. I just put a roast in the crockpot and that’s the closest thing to a “king cake” happening at the Thieme house. It’s tax season and we are missing our resident CPA. The whole damp, white of the outdoors plus the frozen, slate colored sky is a winter that has been like the longest Lent I can imagine. Add to that the rawness we feel from losing my mother-in-law, followed shortly thereafter by the loss of a treasured uncle, and now I have painted you a picture of our emotional and physical state here at the Thieme house. Now, God wants 40 more days? What if even just being nice is starting to feel like a stretch?
“My soul is sorrowful even to death….”
Those are the words of Jesus that feel meaningful to me this day. He spoke them about how He felt knowing He would be put to death—for you and me.
I think the call for me today is to GET OVER MYSELF.
Like the older son in the famous “Prodigal Son” story, I have acted as if I am put upon. There he was, obeying his father, trying to do the right thing. Little brother disrespects his dad, runs off with his share of the money, blows the wad, and then comes back to a hero’s welcome. “Hello? Over here, Padre? Been doing all my work plus that little goofball’s jobs too? Now, you’re making over that guy? How about a little love pour MOI??!” I completely get that big brother. Legitimate beef, if you ask me!
I’m a lot like that bugged older brother as I think to myself how “poor me” this winter and growl at those around me (sometimes aloud, other times with my evil stare). Class act, huh?
Here’s a quote that reflects my feeling for what Lent should really be about in terms of my frame of mind:
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” –C.S. Lewis
Lent is about reflecting on what Jesus did for us. It’s about gratefulness permeating us to the core of our being.
I, for one, can clearly see that my heart is not yet ready. It’s possible that I am just a touch crabby. So, MAAAAYBE I do need Lent.
It’s comforting to me knowing that Jesus spoke these words, “The flesh is weak, yet the spirit is willing.” The mind of a Christian should be open to God’s will even though we may not understand. It should be filled with compassion, showing love for others. We cannot suffer with those around us, we cannot love them as Jesus wishes, if we are too busy thinking about ourselves and grumbling about [fill in your irritants here].
We are called to live outside of ourselves, dropping any self-righteousness or self-pity we may surmise is justified. It isn’t.
“But You, O Lord are my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.” (Ps. 3:3)
So, as Lent begins, I plan to make a conscious effort to begin my day with something slightly better than “Good morning, God. Talk to you later.” By focusing on all that is positive and beautiful, I know that I will open my heart to the great truth Jesus wants me to live— that all is a gift.
The saint to whom I will call for intercession this lent is Mother Teresa. She’s the perfect choice. Think about it. Where did she live most of her life? Calcutta. Google it. It’s similarities to downtown Carmel, Indiana are mindblowing—NOT! Who did she serve? The poorest of the poor. AND YET, instead of grumbling like yours truly about gloomy surroundings, or people that irritate, she was just such a cool chick, always quick to smile. She is famous for posting the following on the walls of her convent:
The Anyway Poem
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Is it just me, or does this pithy little poem seem like a great Lenten list from which to choose? I believe I will start with a very intentional “Do good anyway” for my first week of Lent. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Let’s light the darkness, all!