11 February 2016


This Ash Wednesday is certainly one for the record books.  After having started off the day with little to no sleep the night before, I woke up after five days and was finally cleared for work.  At work, I quickly discovered what no food for the past 5 days means, a few hallucinations later, and a body riddled with the signs of a pretty bad dehydration, I was driven home and given plenty of new stuff to take to help me.  Thankfully, after taking the Pedialyte and all the other things that were prescribed to me, I was feeling much better after a few scary hours.  Sometime along the day, I was able to sit with the pile of ashes that I had intended on taking out into the world to impart, alone, with them and Jesus in my chapel, I sat and reflected on the day.  Never in a million years would I have imaged myself in this state, frail and dependent on others.  Just then, I started thinking about what I would give up for Lent, and it hit me!  Maybe this year, I don't need to focus too much on what I am going to give up, for far too long that was the easy choice to make.  Maybe this year, I would take an example from all those that extended their caring and loving self to me in my time of need.  Maybe this is to be my greatest challenge for Lent, to be a friend who drives another around and waits for them on their medication, or one who worries to the extent that they are able to say, "you're not driving."  Maybe I am called to be that person who says to another just how much I care, not by actually saying it, but by living it out as I wait with them for the meds to kick in.  As I came to see yesterday, my Lenten journey is not so much about strength and fortitude, but about a heart ready to be made vulnerable, a heart able to be molded as the need may be and one that responds in love.  I will never be able to thank those that walked with me yesterday, at least not completely, but perhaps one day, I too will be able to sit with them as they wait on their medication, or maybe one day I will pray with them as they agonize in their own garden.  Either way, my prayer for this Lent is that I may authentically serve, not because I have to, but because I have seen service in a very authentic and selfless manner, and I was made all the better for it.  Be blessed along your journey and know that you are beautiful and you are loved.  As always, Fr. Rick