This is the talk I gave at our youth group night a couple of weeks ago.
I hate Lent.
I used to really enjoy Lent, and there are still some things about it that are really special for me- I love how it makes me pay attention, I love how Spring comes with Lent, how the days get longer and brighter and warmer. ForLent every year I walk to daily Mass near my house and in the first week Iwalk across snow and ice and think about how, when Easter comes, everything
along this mile will look different- the snow will melt, the ice will start to turn white and bubbly and crack when I step on it, and then little rivers will form on the sides of the street- tiny shoots of green will poke up from the ground, crocuses, and tulips- the trees will start to bud out and everything will start to smell greener, even. I love that!
But like I said, although there are some special and great things about Lent (it is really the only time of year I can be disciplined about ANYTHING) I really feel differently about it from how I used to feel.
I used to look forward to it at Church, too- the drama of the telling of Jesus’ story- you know- from Ash Wednesday’s reminder that we’re sinful… to the story every weekend at Mass of Jesus’ ministry and miracles- to the emotions and drama of Holy Week. I really used to get into the flow of it.
But, three years ago, things changed pretty dramatically for me. At Christmas time that year, I was pregnant- just a month or so- not yet showing or anything, but definitely THROWING. I was a sick sick sick pregnant lady. Christmas was different for me that year because I could relate to Mary’s story in a whole new way- I was going to be a mother like her, as bewildered as she sounded in the story- “What? ME?” See, I had not been “trying” to get pregnant- I never did want to have a baby or be a mother- but here I was, with an unexpected miracle. My emotions were mixed- sort of excited but mostly scared and… freaked out!
As Lent started, I was really relating to Jesus, facing his DOOM- I felt a little doomed myself, to be honest. But, I was trusting God- if he thought I could handle this then I guessed he was probably right. I started to get “on board” and looked forward to my ultrasound. That day, though, we saw no heartbeat. The technician said she was sorry and showed us what looked like a little gummy bear, just drifting there with no movement.
Two months later, I was unexpectedly pregnant AGAIN. I was so mad! It was
the beginning of Holy Week, and now I could REALLY relate to Jesus’ story in
a whole new, and unwelcome way. Like Jesus in the garden, I pled with God:
“please, take this cup away from me- but not what I will, but what you
And when, on Wednesday of Holy week came, I was right there with Jesus, calling out to God “ My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
After a dark 40 days of ups and downs and a difficult sort of “recovery” from these experiences, Easter came to me- the “greening” came back, I felt better (no more throwing up), my marriage was- believe it or not- stronger than ever. It was truly tested and Scott was like an angel for me- better than I could have dreamed.
Why am I telling you all this? I guess because I really want you to pay attention during this season- there is something here, in these stories at Mass every week, in the drama, in the changing of the season. The message may not be as deep or earth-shattering as it was for me that year, but there is something for you.
And I want you to know, too, that Easter Always Comes. That’s a mantra of mine… EASTER ALWAYS COMES. Even for Jesus, who literally met his doom. God always has hope in store for you.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”