"We all suffer for each other, and gain by each other's suffering; for man never stands alone here, though he will stand alone hereafter; but here is he is a social being, and goes forward to his long home as one of a large company."
It's Lent...and this season humbles me all too well. Every year I am amazed by the holy sacrifice I see occurring in the world, be it known or unknown.
By nature, I am a selfish being. Tried and true...a sinner. So, how is it then that my Lord serves and blesses me so well? How is it then that I awaken to sheer joy? Awaken to such plentiful blessings...how is it then that the bomb hasn't dropped?
Currently, I am sitting next to Calan as he sits in his highchair. And as the snot runs downs his nose, and the broccoli "drops" from his tray to the floor, tray to the floor, seriously? Again? Tray to the floor....as much as it makes me smile, I find myself in a state of frustration...just a bit.
I am waiting for my husband, as he patiently rakes all the sticks and prickly things that winter has left in our backyard, so that they cannot attack little hands. He will soon join us back inside, to help clean broccoli off floors and wipe stuffy noses. He serves.
The past few weekends, I have been busily trying to finish a very large project that will culminate my graduate schooling...it's make or break. And my husband, every free weekend day, has served our family by letting me go and work: 10, 12, 14 hours...while Calan cries, and coughs, and wipes his little nose on the third shirt he has donned in that day. While broccoli gets dropped on floors, and leaves need raking, he does it alone. Without my help. All to let me, perfect me. He has endured my cranky quips and jabs, and has talked me off more than one or two stressful ledges.
Now, this is not extraordinary, in fact, I am sure that the thought has arisen, "Well yeah, you need to work...he should watch the baby...you need to go do that." It's true, and I would agree. This is all part of the grand marital deal, and he signed the contract. So, it is not so much his actions that inspire, but his intent. His service is out of love, not of obligation. This is what blows me away...
I am the first to admit that I often, very often, act out of obligation. And this is not a terrible thing...but is something, I know, could be purified. As said, I am a selfish being, and my service does not always serve others as well as it could. I am often focused on myself, and then, others.
However, Lent, in all its penitential glory, reminds me consistently of Christ, crucified. Service that goes beyond, far beyond, oneself. Focusing solely upon the other. True service, Holy Sacrifice.
And it is with a Lenten lens that I view my husband. A tangible manifestation of God's Grace. It is through his humble service that I am reminded to look to the cross. Reminded that holiness comes from service, not obligation. It is through his heart, his gift of self- to me, to Cal -that I can truly prefect me. I am humbled. And grateful.
So, it is Lent...and I am blessed. Blessed by the suffering of one to benefit us all, teaching service and surrender. Blessed by the suffering of One to benefit us all, crying out "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."