It is a strange transformation, this one from caregiver to cared-for, from strong to weak. It's not always easy to make the transition.
Several times yesterday, I found myself in the thick of things, ostensibly on the mission of making myself a cup of tea. But while it steeped, I'd manage to neaten the living room or put away the lunch dishes or do a little prep work for the dinner that I knew would still need to be gotten at one point or another.
"What are you doing?" my husband would ask when he caught me at it.
"Oh, nothing," I'd say, dunking my teabag as if I hadn't just been wiping up that smushed banana on my hands and knees a moment before.
"Doesn't look like it," he'd say. "You should go back to bed."
Smiling, I would, and I'd nod off for a bit and let the rest begin it's healing work.
This is Lent. A drawing back and a drawing in. A letting go and letting God.
Because we all need healing. Whether in the form of forgiveness for ourselves...or others. Whether it's a clean slate we need or a new leaf. Whether it's the ability to listen better or the impetus to (finally) act! This is what we are offered in the season of Lent.
Oh, I'll be giving up the usual things: the meat, the sweets, but I have learned over the last several years that the greatest thing I can give to God for these 40 days is control. I spend the final week before Lent reflecting on one question:
What do I feel the greatest need to be in control of?
Last year, it was my novel, and so for 40 days, I let it lie fallow.
This year, it's homeschooling.
My goal was to get all the planning for next year complete before the baby arrives, which is due to happen shortly after Easter. When the thought popped into my head during prayer--"Let it go"--my immediate, human response was, "Are you kidding?! There's no way I can finish all that planning if I don't do it straight through Lent. That only leaves me two weeks between Easter and my due date!! No way."
But the more I protested, the more I knew that Spirit-urging had a point.
In all likelihood, I won't finish all I'd wanted before the baby is born. But, I'll still have the summer. And in the meantime, I'll be doing something so much more valuable: growing in prayer and praying for the year ahead with the same verve and vigor I had put into curriculum crafting.
I place my trust in God. What he can do with 40 days of prayer, I know, is infinitely more than what I can do with 40 days of planning.
So, this last day before Lent begins, I feast with my family. I cough, sip tea. I put away my books and calendars, and I prepare...to let go...