Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

If we try to escape sadness by seeking our consolation in sleep,
we will fail to find what we are seeking,
for we will lose in sleep the consolation
 we might have received from God
 if we had stayed awake and prayed.”
St. Thomas Moore

Today is Ash Wednesday. I used to look forward to the season of Lent. I enjoyed practicing Lenten Devotions with my children. We always had a huge Easter Egg Hunt to celebrate on Easter weekend. I felt the fruits of change in my spirit and the prospect of the journey of Lenten Devotion brought me renewed enthusiasm for my spiritual growth.

For the past few years this prospect of Lenten joy and renewal has been ebbing away. My children are nearly all grown. We no longer have an Easter Egg Hunt. For the most part my family doesn’t consistently participate In Lenten devotions above attending Mass and giving up meat on Fridays. But this year I am determined to make a good effort at the spiritual journey of Lent whether my family participates or not. That expectation may be the most difficult thing for me to give up for Lent. It’s 8:00 am on Ash Wednesday, and so far, so good.

Tonight I will attend the wake of a young man named Connor McCullough who died last Saturday night. He had been fighting a brain tumor since July. He was a sophomore in High School, a classmate of my youngest son. His older brother Clint is a friend of my son Andrew. I watched my boys get in the car today to drive to school, and realized the blessing of that small moment -- backpack laden Andrew carrying his guitar to the car, singing an impromptu version of “Mary did you know, your son would not drink fish oil” in response to a new supplement I had unsuccessfully tried to introduce at breakfast. Peter laughing. The boys waving goodbye from the car. Leslie McCullough will not ever again experience a moment like that with her sons Connor and Clint, and next year her youngest son Clay will go to high school alone.

My instinct tells me to sleep, these past few days have been heavy with the broken hearts of a community mourning their son. In my heart I know St. Thomas Moore was speaking the truth. – it is time to stay awake and pray. It is time to really walk through the devotions of the season with a heart for change, not sleepwalk through the motions. My heart feels weary, but I am off to Mass to pray for the discipline to stay awake and pray.  

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