What Amazes Me the Most this Lent

I have made a very disturbing observation.  It just hit me (probably because it is Lent and God wants to open our eyes to truths during this time), but I just realized that "I'm not in Kansas anymore."  What do I mean?  Well, I was having a very bad day today, among other things, my Mom called me to take her to get her hair done in Twinsburg, I live in Twinsburg but she lives in Macedonia.  Not that that was such a big deal, but my son John is starting school late this week so I had to drive him to school, then my sister called and asked if I could take her shift and pick my mom up from dialysis. Again, no biggie, but I was already scheduled to take her.  Dialysis is in Garfield, and again, I live in Twinsburg, them my husband called and said he had to go to the hospital because his Dad was having surgery, yada, yada...it was shaping up to be a really bad day.

But in the midst of this running around I noticed how ungrateful people were.  No one said thank you, or can I buy you a cup of coffee (my Mom asked me to take her to McDonald's where she placed an order and never asked if I might want something).  Anyhow, I am beginning to believe that people treat people like robots instead of people.  What's happened to our culture?  What's happened to human dignity?  Simple courtesy is out the window.  Now I admit that when I am in a better mood people generally seem nicer, or is it that I over look the dehumanizing we do?

Remember the saying: WWJD (what would Jesus do?) well, I'm sure it's none of that!  Why is it so hard for us to thank people?  Is it because we feel entitled?  Entitled to what, being rude?  One of my biggest gripes was with this "friend" of mine.  For seven years I jumped every time he said jump.  He'd ask and I'd do more, and in all that time I never heard one thank you Joyce.  Why didn't I notice it then?  Why is God showing me this now?  As I drove home to prepare our dinner at 7 pm this night I started thinking about that question.  In a way, I'd rather not be aware of rudeness, it's too painful.  On the other hand, maybe God wants me to be aware of times that I am rude, inconsiderate, or stuck up with others.  Still, that is also a painful reminder.

We are only one week into Lent and I already feel my life has been changed so much!  Lent is a time for reflecting on Jesus, turning away from sin and being faithful to the Gospel.  God is using this time very wisely with me...and frankly, I'm not likin' it too much.  On a brighter note, not all is bad and demoralizing.  The day I came home from a short vacation in Florida, I opened my mail box and found a thank you note...two actually.  One was from my friend Amy thanking me for a gift I gave her children, the other was from a missionary priest in El Salvador.  His was amazing because it was the first time in 7 years a priest there had the kind-heartedness to thank me for the work I do.  Not that I NEED a thank you, but everyone NEEDS to feel valued.  I go to El Salvador to remind the poor that they have value, that they are important, God has taken this opportunity to put me in solidarity with the poor by showing me how they feel when they are not remembered.  It is a blessing from God but a painful reminder none the less.

Fr. Mike's note to me was not just a "thank you for all you do...." like most letters go.  His was thoughtful.  He said, and I quote, "thanks to you and those who support us through you, the future seems a little brighter for the poor, and the people of God feel a little more loved and a little less alone on the mountain God gave them."   WOW!  'more loved and less alone.'  I can't tell you how much hope that letter gave me.  He reminded me why I do what I do.  Not because I need a pat on the back, but because I am commissioned by God, as we all are, to make others feel more loved and less alone.  Maybe I understand this more than some because I often feel less loved and more alone.  I sure wish I had a friend like me sometimes.  Oh wait, I do, his name is JESUS!

Let's try to be Jesus tomorrow, ok?  Let's try to make someone feel more loved and less alone this Lent.  Fr. Mike will never know how much his words gave me new hope.  It came at the perfect time, then again, God always has perfect timing...doesn't He?


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