Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Journey To (and From?) The Cross

Week two of the Lenten season?
How did this happen?
Who took my 2015 speedometer and cranked it forward until it reached today without my knowledge?
How did I land smack dab in the midst of that somber 40 days before Easter designed to prepare us for His arrival...all without being prepared?

It's been a particularly busy season for me.
Work opportunities are abundant which is blessed; I have the opportunity to teach and share and change lives through music and the arts.
However, even more than work commitments, I'm afraid I'm working still harder at the balance between these opportunities and all of the beauty, grace and joy I have found in my everyday with Jesus these past years.
It will happen.
I'm still a child on this journey and have room to grow.
Still it can be frustrating as I drive and work and sweat and fold laundry and wash dishes and grade papers...when all I really want to do is stand in silence before Him with my hands outstretched, drinking in His grace and thanking Him for His blessings.
I've said it before but it bears repeating...
It's hard to say "thank You for Your many blessings" while stuck in traffic.
It's harder even to acknowledge that traffic may be a blessing.

So with all of this in mind, as I panicked realizing I had not prepared my preparation for the Lenten season, I considered what kind of sacrifices I wanted to make.
What would be a challenge for me to deliver yet keep me ever mindful of His journey to the cross?
How would I choose to show my gratitude for His sacrifice in the year of our Lord 2015?

I finally made a decision last Tuesday...the fat one, that is.
I chose to attend daily Mass each weekday that I don't have to be at work early, which is most days.
And I chose to Stop...
wait for iiiiiit....
(I'll pause while the collective gasps cease.)


(Okay, it feels safe to resume...)

Of course, knowing me and my propensity for grumbling, I knew I needed a "what if" in place.
So I removed a jar from the cupboard and christened it my "Lenten jar of sacrifice."
The reasoning behind the jar says if I should slip and let a complaint fly, I'll pay a dollar to the jar and donate any proceeds at the end of the season.

("Where will you donate the money?" my son inquired.
"I haven't decided yet.  Maybe just to the church - I hope the jar won't be very full at the end of Lent!  And it would be weird to send $5 to a charity."
"Well, I think you should give it to us," Braden said.  "Because after all, we're going to be the ones suffering!  You're gonna take it all out on me and dad!"
He kills me - and convicts me all at once.)

Starting each day with a celebration of Mass has proved to be more centering than I could have ever dreamed.
And the jar?
Well, it currently contains $4 - $1 of which, I will point out, I placed in simply because I was complaining in my head.  
It's my hope and prayer that jar stays relatively empty as I endeavor to empty my head of the, often silly, day to day grievances that I choose to acknowledge.

For when I really think about it, what burdens do I shoulder that compare with that of the downtrodden?
What crosses do I bear that truly require mental real estate or audible grief?
During this morning's Mass, I realized something profound.

Those burdens which bother me and make me long for a change can easily be handed over to Him who already took the journey to a cross...
A cross He chose to bear so that I could hand these burdens over more than 2000 years later.
And what if I hand them over?
What then?
Besides making me feel more at peace, how can this help?
My time is freed of loss and my shoulders will be strong enough to carry the crosses of those who feel less than...
hungry, both physically and spiritually.

Ah, the circle connects through Him...through me...through you.
What burdens can you hand over today on your journey to the cross?
And which ones can you shoulder to help carry others toward His love and grace?
Thanks for journeying with me.

{If you are carrying a burden today, 
I'd love it if you'd share a prayer request.  
I will add you to my garden of seeds 
planted in His name.
Comment here...the top post.
And thanks for reading.}

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