Wednesday, March 08, 2006

In the throes of Lent


Published February 2006

We are in week two of the season of Lent, which for most Christians means a time of reflection, fasting and examination. I need Lent for two reasons. 1. To get off my high horse and clean up interiorly and exteriorly, and 2. Realize that the good Lord doesn’t want us to get too comfortable here on earth. After all, Adam and Eve had it really good, that is, until the apple incident. I suppose in small ways we are all paying for it in the sufferings we endure in our daily lives. . I really like Easter though, because we know the end of the story. Hope springs eternal…and to have a seasonal reminder of this is probably a good thing. We are creatures of habit and one of these days it’s going to sink in.

I write today to all of you who are going through a rough patch right now. Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one or suffering some insurmountable loss of health or bad news about a loved one. You know who you are. You are the ones that suffer mostly in silence. You try your hardest at work and at home to put on a happy face. When people ask how you are doing, the only words you can find are “Everything’s just fine…thanks.” But when you get into the shower or collapse into bed at night, you let the tears fall. In secret you are suffering because you have a lot of things on your mind and you know you need to keep going. Maybe life has dealt you some hard blows and bad cards. Perhaps you are suffering the loss of a job or financial woes. I see those of you who are not sleeping at night, maybe because it’s tax season and you are wondering how bad it’s going to be, come April 15. Maybe your business isn’t doing as well as you expected, or that home renovation project is driving you crazy. Some of you are struggling with managing it all…school, work and home. Perhaps you are failing to meet expectations you and others have placed on you. It’s very difficult. Hard times happen and we don’t always understand the reasons why.

Some of you have loved ones who are far away from home. The worry is getting to you. Your teenager might be having emotional or scholastic problems. Maybe your marriage has fallen into a rut. Perhaps you are lonely or have suffered a betrayal in a close friendship. Without becoming absolutely too maudlin in outlining common problems many people suffer in days like these, I offer you a few thoughts, only because you’ve been on my mind.

You are not alone, even when it seems as if you are. This too, shall pass….and no problem is bigger than your own strength to bear it. Don’t give in to despair. Try and persevere. Sometimes, the highest thing we can do to beat problems like these, is to be absolutely dedicated to helping others with a kind word or deed. Maybe you can’t do much right now. Perhaps picking up the phone and calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, mending a fence, delivering a meal to a neighbor, or writing a letter to a loved one would give you a brighter outlook. Finding a kind word, hugging someone who needs one, lending an ear and listening well, make our own problems seem less significant. Negativity breeds contempt and bitterness. Make time for family. Try to relax and slow down.

If you are ill, the very idea of usefulness escapes you. But your work is valuable and has meaning. Perhaps your primary job is that of using your own suffering as a means to sanctify those around you. Perhaps you are teaching patience to others by your own example of suffering. Your virtue is your patience. Pray for those who are caring for you. I know you both are tired.

After Good Friday, there is always Easter Sunday….be patient and unafraid. Sorrow is seasonal, like a rough and cold winter. If you are in the throes of a difficult Lent, Spring is around the corner. You are all in my prayers. Hang in there.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and a bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at familyfare@sbcglobal.net

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally, it's here. What took you so long? You are our favorite columnist and we can't wait to read about your adventures every other week. Your website is well done. Get some sleep! You work all night as we see on the time stamp. We look forward to many more. May God bless you and your family. Go girl!

Tammy Maher said...

Aww shucks Momaher. Thanks. I can spot you anywhere!

Tom McGowan said...

Courtesy?, No not all!!!!

Tammy said...

Hey Tom! Glad to hear from you.