It wasn't until late Tuesday afternoon, when I wrote my last post, that I realized this is indeed another year in which I need to give up complaining (as opposed to simply sharing with you all that I've done that in the past.)
There are other sacrifices happening, yes. I won't talk about those just yet, or maybe not at all. But the complaining. Yes. It must go.
I have to thank a dear friend for bringing the C word up early Tuesday.
It was one of those days wherein I probably would have burst into tears if anyone had called and said, "But how are you really?"
Not for any particular reason that I could pinpoint. You know those days? Not because my children had done anything weepy-making. It was just one of those days. One of those times in motherhood (and one of those times when Lent is approaching) during which I was petulantly thinking, "I don't want to give anything up. I give myself up every day, day in and day out, and I've been doing it for years and I'm worn out and there's nothing left to give up. I want a vacation."
But, later, after my friend's email, and as I thought and prayed and worked on a blog post, I realized a couple of things. One is that I've certainly felt this way before. I remembered a blog post from last year in which I also sounded like a little girl stomping her feet and shrieking about her woeful life.
I wondered -- do I always feel this way in early March? Well, no. Last year, I felt this way in early February. The common denominator is that both of these times Lent was also just around the corner. (Draw your own conclusions. For Drama, Press 1: "Spiritual Attack." For banality, Press 2: "Winter Needs to End Soon.")
Two important thoughts came out of this realization. One is that I've felt this way before, I will feel this way again, and it will pass. Every time. I will not (so don't fret, daughters) pull a Joanna Kramer and walk out the door to go find myself. I might need nothing more than a walk, and some sun, or a couple of hours with friends, but I'll be back.
But secondly, I hadn't been seeing the light. I'd been feeling the weight of the dark and I let it catch up with me -- focusing on what's negative, hard, tiring, overwhelming, wrong with the world, etc., instead of focusing on what's positive, a gift, worth the fatigue, easy, and what's right with the world.
And there's so much that is right.
And the minute I said to myself, "It's time for Pollyanna's Glad Game," (the Faith Edition) the cloud lifted. Telling myself I must change my attitude changed my attitude. I felt consoled, motivated, thankful.
For every time I ask Jesus, "Why do You allow ....?" He can and does answer, "This is why, and here's what you can thank Me for in the moment." Or, if He doesn't make the "why" clear, He still says, "Say thank you anyway. It's what an obedient child does."
My Lenten plans fell into place. Getting rid of complaining is the beginning. There will be more -- prayer, alms, fasting.
Ash Wednesday was a great day of fasting.
I went to bed feeling so hungry for food and so full of God's promises.