Here’s a different take on fasting, or giving things up for Lent. To me it’s a description of how I want to be all the time, not just in the forty days before Easter.
The quote below appeared today on the Edge of the Atlantic, one of the blogs I follow. I’m not Catholic. I haven’t made a habit of attending church on Ash Wednesday, or “giving something up” for Lent. So when I looked through my followed blogs on the WordPress Reader today and found this, I realized it expressed what I was going to try to express, and did it much better than I ever could:
I’ve been trying to stay in my lane, and to avoid investing my energy into worrying about things I can’t control. Instead I’m thinking about how I can control my response to both small everyday frustrations and the monumental, unrelenting shit storms that seem to have enveloped our planet. These past weeks, it just seems like it gets worse every day.
Losing Mike and living as a widow has helped me understand, “this too shall pass.” It has made me want to remain unperturbed by everyday stresses and to learn to be still and silent enough, to find sufficient serenity, to tune in to more eternal things: love, compassion, gratitude, simplicity, patience, joy, reconciliation, hope, kindness – prayer and God. These things don’t pass with the passing moments of each day. I want them to reside with me in each present moment, and stay with me as that moment passes to become the next. It’s far more difficult than it should be, and unsurprisingly, I fail at it much more often than I succeed. I succumb to petty worries and mundane stresses. I lose patience. That’s why I appreciate reminders like Bill Schulz’s post today. They help me regain my perspective.
Angelic Daughter is my guiding star. I admire her more than I can say, and I am more ashamed of succumbing to impatience with her than I am of any of my other many faults. She marks one of life’s milestones tomorrow. Today she described handling an uncomfortable situation by using a strategy we had practiced. She solved the problem of feeling anxious in one environment by asking to move to another, at a place where choices like that are available to her. She continues to assume more responsibility for the moments of her day – being on time and prepared, adapting to different types of transportation and advocating for herself if she needs accommodation, as she did today. She does all this without dimming her angelic, compassionate, loving, emotionally intelligent self one bit. The strategy she used today worked, and she’s realizing that she has more control over things that bother her sensitive, autistic self than she used to, or that she believed she could have. My pride in and boundless love for her is wrapped in hope. May there be a future in this world for Angelic Daughter, where people choose compassion, kindness, good stewardship for the earth and all that’s in it, love and reconciliation, and where we work together to solve problems that touch us all.
I hope your present moments are infused with calming little bits of the eternal, and may those moments bring you peace.
Yours with gratitude to God for the gift of a daughter whose spirit is far more naturally generous than mine, and who inspires me every day to try to be a better person, I remain, your one-moment-to-the-next,