Today I spent several hours watching a sweet three year old and had a blast. I do love the pre-school age so much. All their excitement over simple things. Their willingness for adventure and most are generally sporting a good attitude. We read books, danced to music, played dolls for hours and just had a wonderful time. It was a balm to my still tender heart.
Tomorrow it will be six weeks since my Courtney went home to Jesus. I no longer wake up crying or sad. I smile more when I think about her than feel bad. Talking about her doesn't hurt as much either. Slowly but surely I am coming out of the fog that descended in September when we first came home to hospice. I am determined to take the time needed to fully enter in to this grief process. I tend to just power through when things get difficult. My daughter deserves more than that from me this time.
I think often of her final days and hours here with us. They were such an incredible gift to us. Maybe some day I will be able to share all the beautiful things that happened those last 48 hours. Right now, it's too close to my heart to survive the process. One day.
For now, I have some news. I met with my spiritual director last week and we were discussing what my lenten practice should be. I have done many different things over the years, including giving up different things, adding in more prayers to my daily life, and participating in different religious retreats during the Lenten season.
This year will be very different. I have felt a kind of separation from God recently. It's like there is a big gaping whole in my heart and I feel very little consolation from Our Lord. When Father asked me what I thought I should do, my answer was blunt and honest. I said "I think I have given up enough this year, don't you?"
Yes, I said it with a straight face without any disrespect in my voice. Yes, I do have a PhD in SmartAss 101. Yes, my spiritual director knows me extremely well and smiled when I gave my answer.
He bowed his head, still smiling, closed his eyes and was quite for a moment or two. I just waited for his response.
It was a doozy.
"OK my friend. This is what I think you should do. No, this is what I know you will do."
Danger Will Robinson, Danger...
"You are in a desert right now. A spiritual desert. I think that it would be very productive and healing for you to truly enter into this journey with Christ this Lent. He was in the desert for 40 days. You will be joining Him there."
He was still smiling.
I started to sweat. My heart rate picked up.
Por que?? What is this joining Him there?
"So what exactly does that mean...joining Him in the desert?" I asked. My voice actually cracked. I have been given a direct assignment only once before, so I knew this was serious.
"I think it would be a wonderful idea for you to go through Lent without ANY distractions. I would like you to give up blogging, Facebook, instagram, Twitter, and any other social media you participate in daily, for the entirety of Lent. I want you to go to daily Mass when possible and make at least one holy hour a week. I want you to journal by hand what God is telling you in the silence. If you start working on your memoir, I want you to write it out by hand. Since email is a part of life, limit yourself to twice a day, no more than 30 minutes each time. Let's start with that and see where God leads you."
I might possibly have had my mouth drop open and there may have been some drool escape, as my astonishment rose by the second.
Ahhhh....crickets chirping....silencio...my brain scrambled
He was still smiling.
I was not.
"Indeed, I am. The Holy Spirit gives some wonderful spiritual direction don't you think?"
"It's going to be a great Lent. God has incredible things in store for you Mary. Enter into that silence and embrace Him. OK then, shall we go to Confession?"
That was the end of that.
No words. None. I have never taken on something that felt so daunting for Lent before. But then, I have never lost a child before either. Daunting it is.
I have decided to just jump in and start tonight, since Lent is a week away. Crazy is as crazy does.
What does it mean for this space?
Well, my next post will be on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.
Until then, know that I will be praying for each and every one of you. Will you in turn, keep praying for me and my family? Especially for my two guys who are both still interviewing and looking for new jobs? I would be so very grateful.
I understand how the interwebs work. I may lose many readers and I am sorry for that. Father challenged me when I told him the same thing. His answer "Who do you write for God or man?"
OK then. I will make the same announcement on my other other social media feeds. Seven weeks total of no social media. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH....
ONLY by the grace of God will I be able do this. This is insanity. I can feel the instagram withdrawal as we speak.
Blessings and Grace my friends. I will see you on the other side. April can't get her soon enough for me.
OK Lord...here we go...
All my love and prayers,