The coming of Lent has me all aflutter this year. It is no wonder given the experiences of last year's lent with the sudden delivery and subsequent NICU stay of baby goat. In fact, you will recall that he was born one day after Ash Wednesday and came home from the NICU one day after Easter. It was truly an unexpected lenten journey.
Thinking back it was just what lent is supposed to be: Introspective, challenging and yet there is joy present. I've been having flashbacks in the last few weeks. They are flashes of my pregnancy's final days, of the hospital, and the NICU and those scary moments when baby goat was so small and so early.
At the time 46 days seemed like an eternity - and indeed it was his whole life at that point. A year later it seems much smaller. Already I can't quite remember the impatience, frustration and sadness of leaving him daily in the hands of others with wires attached all over. I can't quite remember, yet I never forget either.
It is a tradition of the church and churchy folks to give up something for Lent. It is an exercise in spiritual discipline and an acknowledgement of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. I've also tried to take on something each year as a way of growing as well. Last year I was already in the hospital by Ash Wednesday and it was apparent that for Lent I was giving up control and taking on patience instead. But I didn't have any choice in the matter!
Cut to nearly a year later. Baby goat is thriving, almost one, and a handful. I still need daily the lessons from last year of patience and a willingness to realize that I am NOT in control. Crawling babies are great ways to learn those lessons.
Now it is Fat Tuesday, the cusp of Ash Wednesday, and I am undecided on my Give and Take. In many ways this journey means more to me than ever, and it would be wonderful to find a way to reconnect with God and to acknowledge more deeply the blessings I've been given this last year in particular. On the other hand, my normal Lenten ideas seem woefully lacking. Chocolate or diet coke just doesn't seem to have the same magnitude. On the other hand, the thought of giving up those things and others still sounds impossibly hard too.
So I'm feeling stuck.
Stuck in rememberances of last year and the busy reality of this year.
Stuck in the weakness of clinging that I don't want to give up.
Stuck in wanting to take an easy way out and do something simple.
I give up.
Or rather I will give up and take up too. I need to refocus, to recenter, to renew, to relive. I know that last year defined me somehow in ways I only sort of understand.
I just don't know what. But I better figure it out fast.