Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. –I Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
Today is Ash Wednesday. I am going to make an assumption (this will probably get me in trouble) that my readers know what Ash Wednesday is and how it relates to Lent. (If not let me know….the History of Lent could be my next post…)
Growing up, my father taught us to observe Lent, regardless of the church we were currently attending. However, we rarely attended an Ash Wednesday Service. I did not attend on until college, and to be honest it was probably one of the more moving services I ever participated in. It probably had something to do with the extraordinarily wayward path I was on. Taking those steps down an aisle for a minister to rub my head with ash was a bold move for me. Bolder still was wearing that sign of repentance all day, to class, to work….and home. What a way to air your dirty laundry, eh?
I did not attend a service today. I will not be attending church at all tonight because Gabriella has pinkeye and she is quarantined from other children. However, my church does not observe these rituals but I will still. Which brings me to my point….
To observe Lent this year I am doing two things. The first, is pretty benign in nature but as embarrassed as I am to admit it, giving up chocolate is kind of a big deal for me. My chocolate intake is
hourly daily and I can recognize that as a problem.
The other Lenten observance is to look for the silver lining….in everyday, and especially in obstacles.
Dead President’s Day so we were out of school (work). My To-Do list was brought to a standstill when we were faced with a flooded bathroom and plumbing emergency. Somewhere through the frustration I found myself thanking God that it happened on a day we were out of work. And immediately, I felt better. When I normally would have allowed my selfish exasperation at being inconvenienced cause me to be ugly to Nathan (being honest here), I was able to patiently wait until the problem was solved ($200 to a plumber for 15 minutes) without a meltdown. And I found myself seeing other blessings within this crisis inconvenience. For instance, I did have a clean uniform for Corbin (I usually don’t at that point) and I am lucky enough to have neighbors that would have lent us their showers if we would have needed it.
Yesterday, I legitimately
fu… messed up at work and was forced to ask to help and immediately go to my Principal for assistance. Not a good day for me….making mistakes at work is not something I try to make a habit of and asking for help…..well, I’d rather drown. However, out of my forced humility I learned that my Department Chair…. well, let’s just say I owe her one. And my administrator, (for the first time in my five years of teaching) met me with grace.
And today…. (it’s already been quite a week!) Gabriella has pink eye so I was home. I could not do the things that desperately needed doing at school, I was away from my students again and I feel as though I left my co-teacher hanging. However, in light of Monday and Tuesday …..and Lent, I resolved to find a silver lining.
So, I am grateful for the nurse who called in an prescription and did not make me drive an hour to the doctor’s office. (This is the first time Gabs has had this so, technically, we were supposed to be seen….) I am grateful for the pharmacy tech that called in the generic, saving me the difference of over $100 without even waiting to ask. I am grateful for this beautiful day (IN THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY!!) and that I was able to pick up Corbin from school, check in with his teacher (like good parents do) and play with my kids outside for a bit before coming inside to make Nathan dinner. And for the record, thanks to Seminary, home-cooked meals (by me) are a rarity at this house now.
So, while I may be walking into a colossal mess tomorrow that will inevitably need cleaning up, I will find the silver lining there too. No more grumbling, unproductive complaining and general sourness.
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” — Romans 5:3-5 (The Message)