Lent: A Kindness to Endure the Final Stretch

Jesus Washing Disciples Feet

After nearly 40 days in the desert, journeying deeper into Holy Week, last night I hit the proverbial Lent wall.

Have you ever been there? Or maybe you are there now?

I wonder how Jesus felt in that final stretch? Hmmmm…

After several attempts to keep everything all nicely contained, in the end…yep, I t-a-n-k-e-d. Let me be clear, we’re certainly not talking anything earth-shattering here, but sometimes it feels like there’s a wall, and I smack up against it. AGAIN. And again…and, well, you know the drill.

When my resistance is low, it’s obviously a lot quicker process. The weariness from this Lenten trekking in the desert, and the thirst from “water deprivation”, can sometimes make pebbles seem like boulders.

White flag raised. Stick a fork in me. Insert another cliche of your choice here, but basically last night:

“I’m good, Lord. Yep, I’m done.”

While in my mind I sometimes entertain delusions of being Superwoman, in that moment I was completely aware of my humanness. I grabbed my bible, my journal, my keys, and my purse. I told my husband I needed to get out for bit as I placed a sandwich near him.

As I drove to the nearest chapel, it all started to fumble out. Those moments between me and God, well, I’m just glad he’s God…

It took awhile for me to even get out of my car to enter the Chapel. As I walked up to the glass doors, I saw two women were kneeling in Adoration. There’s no code on the door, and I wasn’t exactly sure when Adoration ended (it’s not a Perpetual Adoration Chapel), so I pulled on the locked door a couple of times.

A woman, probably around my age, got up to come to the door. As she did, she looked at me and softly said, “We’re about to repose Him for the night, but you can stay a few minutes until we do.”

A few minutes seemed like a complete treasure. 

Grateful, I knelt in the back. Knowing it’s Holy Week, I wanted to leave everything there. With many intentions for suffering friends and family too, I wanted to put them in good hands. Hopefully, the whole process would allow my heart to be more open for the celebration of the Triduum.

The other woman in the Chapel left after a few moments. As I continued to spend my moments with Him, the young woman approached me. Oh man, wipe my eyes…

“If you’d like to stay, I can call my husband and ask him if I can stay longer.”

It was so kind, I stumbled a bit, “Oh no, that’s OK. I don’t want to keep you…”

“Oh no,” she responded, “You wouldn’t be keeping me. Let me go call my husband…”

What an unexpected blessing. She was gone for a bit, and when she came back, she asked if I had a phone since her’s was dead and Father’s was locked up.

She was determined, so I handed her my phone. In the meantime, I continued to spend more moments with the Lord.

After they spoke a few minutes, she returned with the news that she had to go home. I assured her that I was glad for the extra time I already got, and I certainly understood.

She then asked me to join her in singing “Tantum Ergo” (which I needed to practice, by the way, for the Holy Thursday Liturgy. Score!)

We knelt and sang together. It was simple. Pure. Sweet.

As we briefly chatted while walking out to our cars, we quickly discovered who we knew in common. Indeed, it is a small Catholic world. She promised to pray for one of our special intentions.

Her kindness to me, without barely knowing my name, lifted me up. In some ways, it felt almost like the footwashing….

Spending time with the Lord — just being — returned some of my perspective: These things are really just pebbles, not boulders. After all my vocation is LOVE (a la St. Therese of Lisieux).

 

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