What I have appreciated most this past week is how simple life has become. Family dinners are lasting longer than seven minutes and teenage boys are speaking in complete sentences. I don’t bother anymore with makeup or real clothes. Hair washing is optional. Other than walking the dog, shoes are obsolete. I like to pretend that I am one of the Ingalls girls from Little House on the Prairie or one of the March girls from Little Women because life is no longer about accumulation or accomplishment but just the simplicity of being and being together. I know I don’t have the corsets or the bonnets like they did but I did make soup out of a ham bone. I feel like that has to count for something.
While I hate the tentative and devastating circumstances of this quarantine, I love the way I have seen the community show up for one another; the way the undeterred faithful huddle in front of their televisions to participate in the mass or to listen to the holy and profound words of Pope Francis; and the way my typically sleepy neighborhood is filled with children’s laughter, family walks, and driveways with pastel chalk mosaics. Somehow life’s excess has been stripped away, and in its absence, I find that I have been left with so much more. For this, I am profoundly grateful.
Here is what else I am thankful for:
LENT DAY 29: I am thankful for little things. Cupping the warmth of my morning coffee; the velvet rush of the taste of chocolate; laughing with a stranger in the checkout line, and the warmth of the sun that reminds me to look up. Little things bring big gratitude.
LENT DAY 30: I am thankful for good Samaritans.
My neighbor saw a man with cerebral palsy riding his wheelchair in the middle of a busy four-lane road and then onto an interstate on-ramp. Fearing he was going to kill himself or someone else by causing an accident, my neighbor, along with some other motorists, used their cars to slow traffic and create a barrier around the man who appeared to be in despair. Some of the Sisters from the Home of the Mother at Assumption Catholic Church came to the aid as well.
The story of the good Samaritan isn’t just in the Bible. It’s the story of ordinary everyday people answering the call to comfort, serve, and love their neighbor. It’s a story the world needs us to write wherever we are and however we can.
LENT DAY 31: I am thankful for healthcare workers. Enduring long hours of the impossible, honoring the dignity of each patient, offering assurance, compassion, and calm, they are the heroes of our time. Every day they manage to do what can’t be done. They are warriors for life and we pray that your lives will be forever blessed because of that. Truly, we thank you.
LENT DAY 32: I am thankful for the Saints. “Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future,” Oscar Wilde. Saints remind us of who we can be if we choose to act with the best parts of ourselves. Their lives weren’t easy. Their choices were hard. They experienced humiliation, hatred, and sometimes horrible deaths. Yet, the commonality between them was their paramount love for God and the eternal life that is their reward.
How I want to be in that number when the Saints go marching in.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” ~ Meister Eckhart
LENT DAY 33: I am thankful for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the fiery one of the trinity, the wild card that throws down courage, ignites fires, and takes us out of complacency into action in our communities. I wouldn’t be posting right now if it were not for him. Every day he makes this girl who was always scared of everything brave enough to write her truth. We are told not to play with fire yet when I think of him, I can’t help but be drawn to the flame. May you celebrate what burns bright in you and let your light shine.
LENT DAY 34: I am thankful for marriage. Despite the inevitable melting and morphing of time, the constancy of having someone at my side during all of the iterations of life’s journey has been the greatest gift. In the ordinary and in the extraordinary; the bad and the just bearable — marriage is cemented in the sacred sacrament of God’s love. A holy and joyful adventure in unity.
LENT DAY 35: I am thankful for friendship. Friends are a lot like shadows – they stretch ahead when our path is too hard, stand beside us when we are scared, and remain behind us when we fall. They dance with us in happy times and remind us there is light in the darkness.
I love the shadows in my life who distance cannot divide, who safeguard my secrets, who believe in me more than I am capable of believing in myself, who know when to give me space and when to stay close. The shadows of friendships edge the brightest parts of life, the ones that matter most– where laughter erupts, hurts heal, and acceptance is unconditional.
Yes, mercy matters and no one does mercy better than those we call friends.