Lent is coming at just the right time

Tuggerah Lake sunset.jpgI’m feeling a bit flat at the moment – partly because I’m not 100% well due to a flare up of an autoimmune condition I’ve been blessed with – but mainly because it’s mid-February and I’m still haven’t really worked out what I’m going to be doing with myself this year.

Our kindy kid is still finding it hard to go off to school in the mornings. But he’s always happy in the afternoons and full of good news from his days. He was very happy with an award he got at an assembly yesterday for ‘Having a great start to kindy and being so brave’.

I suppose I’m not used to having all of the children in school five days a week. I assumed I’d be jumping straight into either a project of my own or a job but the way forward is not so clear at the moment, including how to figure out and get everyone used to the new logistics.

A friend and neighbour whose youngest started kindy last year said she had felt the same – that it took her a while to get into this next stage of life, and that I shouldn’t worry about rushing it. I’m sure she’s right.

I have never been patient though. And bills won’t really wait to be paid either. I am grateful to have a husband who has always (except for a transitional moment here and there) been fully employed and enjoys his current job. But we have five young kids and live in Sydney in 2018 – need I say more?

And I suppose I’m grieving the loss of the baby and preschooler years as well, though the full force hasn’t hit me yet. I do think that four or five years old is too young for kids to start 30 hours per week or formal schooling. Much of what I am currently living is not by my choice.

I guess it’s a sign of my current mood that when I happened to read a bishop’s statement on the conclusion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the line that jumped out at me was the one where he admitted that when he looks at the problems in the Church and the world in general, he sometimes has an intense desire to return to the monastery he came from.

I feel that way even about the more mundane problems facing families like ours in the current world. And I feel pained that many families and individuals have it much, much harder than we do, while the Church and the world are in such a mess.

But I have no monastery to return to, no place to escape the place and time in which I have been placed and which is also – in my fumbling attempts at seeking union with God’s will – where I ultimately choose to be.

Here in the mess, and the darkness.

None of us really have all the support we need, but then, somehow, we do have all the support we need. We need to crave the right kind of support – the peace that only God can give in the depths of our soul. For Catholics, the Eucharist. And other people committed (consciously or otherwise) to building up the Body of Christ, which as I’m appreciating more and more is somehow, unaccountably, but in reality, the best thing that exists in the world.

Luckily it’s Ash Wednesday tomorrow and I always receive some kind of special help during Lent. Perhaps because that’s when I seek it the most.

I hope you all have a great Lent. What are you doing, or giving up? I guess I will be hitting the extra Mass times and confessional pretty hard, among other things.

Meanwhile, one of the joys of big family life is that there is usually something going on which is lovely. Last week my second daughter and I joined 50 other girls and their mothers for an action-packed weekend on the central coast.

The photo above is of a sunset on Tuggerah Lake, which she took just after we all sat on the grassy bank and prayed a decade of the rosary. In amongst all the high-adrenaline extreme sporty stuff it was probably the only moment of quiet the whole weekend!

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