Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lenten Commitments Never Easy!

This made me laugh but isn't this how life goes much of the time!?
As my readers know, I have recently discontinued a very long term treatment called the Marshall Protocol. No, I did not "give it up for Lent"! This treatment did however involve a radical elimination of Vitamin D which was to produce "a revved up immune response" not usually sought after in most treatments! It supposedly was a way to eliminate all sorts of bacteria or parasites and anything else that my body had ceased to "keep in check".  As yet I am not sure of the results, though overall I am feeling much better.  I do know that I was chemically altered and as a result I had made many changes in my life style to make me more comfortable. In short, I had become a social recluse.

Going off of it, I decided to reverse this process and get myself out and into the world more.  Not seeing the value in shopping more, I instead reconnected with others by returning to church on a regular basis.  It seems that being without Vitamin D meant I had become quite "thin skinned" both literally and figuratively.  I stopped my meaningful and active participation in my church.  Mind you, I did this without losing my faith or beliefs, which remained intact.  I did however become super sensitive and could be quite easily offended by those around me (brain irritability being a real side effect!). I know that church collects sinners, not unlike myself, but temporarily I didn't care to hang out with them!
Warning is needed, as the world isn't all "on our side"! LOL!

Going back to church started at Christmas, as no matter what, I minimally showed up for the major holidays.  It was then that I encountered our new priest.

Catholics cycle their priests and reassign them every few years.  The new priest's homily resoundingly struck a chord with me. "We are Christmas people," he exclaimed, "and so it is our privilege to take our faith out into the world and live it!" Clearly he believed as I did, that faith to be truly lived must be taken out of the hallowed walls of beautifully decorated churches! Faith lived means sharing it and most often that is done  in actions not words. Being shut in for so long, there were only a few that came to visit me and lighten my spirits, though no doubt my altered state didn't make me so fun to be around either, but I hoped this too was about to change!

My new priest was clearly in sync with Pope Francis who believes that faith must be taken into the community to meet people where they are and our priest went on to challenge us to explore God's mercy in our lives this Lent. I think he even mentioned skipping giving up chocolate and instead of fasting, feast on God's love. While I don't think he exactly meant stocking up on chocolate, I filled my candy jars and then took to prove I was a Christmas person, shedding my confinement, and committing myself to doing simple acts of kindness. "Contrived but simple", I thought, but it didn't quite turn out to be so easy!!
Being kind might take a gold nugget chocolate reward....but isn't this Lent?!

On one of the first days of lent, I woke, determined to make good on my promise to do my little act of mercy.  That day, it involved seeking information as to how I could get some of my craft wares to the auction that was being held for my friend, Stacie Mincher.  I would lose no time in getting them where they needed to go and see about collecting items from my artsy friends and taking their's as well,  but just as I went to pick up the phone to inquire where they needed to go, my phone rang. It was another friend in need, someone I had not spoken to since before Christmas. Like myself, she is long winded and when she gets going can talk at least as long as me! Frustrated, I was none-the-less glad to hear from her and I sat down and put my feet up.

My first act of kindness clearly needed to involve patience, listening and visiting with my friend, which would take a while. The day was long, or so I thought! It quickly grew shorter and I was a bit relieved when my friend's phone went dead.  I tried calling her back, but to no avail. I realized then that my energy was running low and a bit of a nap was in order after which,  I would then get onto my well-planned "act of mercy".

This is to remind me that God is all-seeing.  He sees me and my chocolate!

Just as I was getting up from my nap, my friend called back, her phone was as revived as my body, and our conversation continued.  It was not a simple call.  My friend was stressed and seeking advice.

Apparently God had sent her to me knowing that I had just renewed my commitment to be supportive of my friends, though she was not the one that I targeted for that day. I chuckled and was reminded once again that God has a sic sense of humor that usually comes out during Lent! Making promises to Him has a way of getting me into trouble every time! He has a way of holding me to them in a rather twisted fashion!!

And this is to remind me that Jesus knows that He who laughs last, laughs best!
Minutes later my husband shoved a note under my nose. It was notifying me that my cousin had called while I was on the phone and left a message on call- waiting, that she too wanted to talk to me! She never calls unless there is something wrong! Now I knew that her call was not merely a coincidence, but rather "a God wink"! God was perhaps enjoying my dilemma and knew that my simple "act of mercy" that was centered in my pride to be "a good person" was doomed! Clearly there was going to be a rush on my good intentions.  My human limits were easily exposed!

This is what happens every Lent. God easily demonstrates just how small my sacrifices really are!  It will be a struggle to simply do one act of kindness each day this Lent. Commitments of faith aren't easy, no matter how simple!! How many more days are left in this Lenten season? Forty seems like an eternity with or without chocolate!!
Fabric therapy is always good for the soul!

Trying to "take control", I work at creating an early spring and end Lent sooner!