Thursday, March 24, 2016

holy, holy

I had big expectations for Lent this year. Visions of waking to pray and journal before the rest of the house stirred. Plans to forgo screens and social media. A desire to make it to both church and confession at least once a week.

So here's a confession for you: I haven't been to church since Ash Wednesday. 

The baby, who had been sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night, started waking every hour again a few weeks ago, and my own sleep has been all over the place. It doesn't help that I've made a habit of staying up until midnight or later, butt planted firmly on the sofa in front of the glare of one screen or another.

Basically, I feel like a failure at Lent (and also, life). I have none of the markings of a "good Catholic" these days. But the more I consider what it means to be "good," the less I want it. I'd rather be uncomfortably Catholic, repentant in my own time and firmly entrusted to God's incomprehensible and inexhaustible mercy. 

That probably doesn't make me very Catholic at all. I don't know; you'd have to ask one of the "good" ones.

I have to remind myself that Catholics of every stripe are only human, including this one. I'd like to think I'm doing the best I can. Truth is, I give into sloth and pride and any other number of sins I can rationalize away as "not that bad" all too often, even though I know better.

This is where we get to the miracle of it all: I'm loved anyway. 

The stars never existed in order for us to earn them. I'm learning it can be a whole lot healthier to marvel instead of strive. This changes everything.

I'm not sure I'll ever be comfortable being human, or Catholic. It's hard, and painful. I've spent a lifetime immersing myself in those aspects, only to neglect the fact that it can also be full of, well, joy

And isn't that kind of the point? Of the Resurrection, and therefore of the Christian narrative as a whole. It is the best plot twist ever.

So tonight I will wash feet: Those of my babies, and my own. I will break bread with the ones in front of me. I'll plan our Sunday brunch and fill Easter baskets and mail cards and take a long bath and say a thousand times: Thank you, and Wow, and Amen. 

I will believe in the "small-s" sacraments of the everyday. 

I will revel in the fact that I already know how the story ends, and that even on the days it's all I can do to climb out of bed and show up for my family (let alone show up to church), I am still loved beyond measure and wrapped in a mantle of stars.

And that right there? That's enough.