The Lent I Needed

My plans for Lent were modest as such things go, but Ash Wednesday wasn’t even over before that old adage: “Man plans, God laughs,” came into my head.

Y’all, it’s hard not to feel you are failing at Lent when you can’t even make it to Ash Wednesday Mass to get ashes.  Here’s what happened.

Now logistics are always an issue in this house, so I checked the websites of every church in town to find the time that would work the best for us.  Our parish’s service is at 7:00 p.m., and it’s a 30-minute drive, so we decided to hit up the 5 p.m. Mass at the church five minutes away.

BUT . . . John woke up on Monday with a pain in his hip that escalated quickly.  By Wednesday he could barely walk and couldn’t drive, but the show must go on when you are a hard-working attorney with clients who depend on you.  Our oldest son drive him to the courthouse 45 minutes away, and then I had to pick him up.  We went straight from there to the chiropractor, who advised us to consult with our PCP, and without giving you a play-by-play for the whole day, by the time the ordeal of the doctor and the X rays and the pharmacy came to an end, we had missed every Mass there was.

I didn’t get to start a single one of my Lenten plans on Wednesday and as I fed people and did dishes and complained about all this my son said, “Maybe God has something different in mind.”


Some years you pick the mortifications and some years they pick you.” The words I’d read that very day in another Catholic blogger‘s Facebook post suddenly came to mind and have stayed there ever since as I have continually put aside the Lent I wanted for the one God is sending me.

Of course poor John is the one who has bursitis and I know it’s quite mortifying for him as well, but I can’t really adequately express the effect approximately 2.5 extra hours (minimum) away from home each day has on my already overcrowded and overwhelming schedule and on my state of mind.  I’ve driven 700 miles in the past week–about seven times as much as a normal week.  Trying to accept this cheerfully and just feel grateful when there are a few stolen minutes to squeeze in one of the Lenten disciplines I had planned to pursue is taking a lot of prayer, patience, and perseverance.

Morning Mass is at 9 a.m. and I’m in the car heading home from Maryville then, so no.  It’s 10 a.m. before I’ve eaten and done the dishes and am ready to dive into my day.  There’s precious little time to get all the office work done, and certainly no extra for returning to the gym or devoting an hour a day every day to decluttering the house.

So I am trying to do what I can instead of focusing on what I can’t manage.  So far I have written in my prayer journal every day, posted a picture for a Lenten Instagram photo challenge, participated in an online book club, and made a start on my family’s Letters of Love notebook.

I’m a planner, a perfectionist, and an administrator.  I don’t like spontaneity and I don’t like change.  I still want the Lent I planned, but it’s clear that God is leading me in a different direction this year and since I do believe He knows what I need better than I do, I’m trying to be obedient to His will.

0 thoughts on “The Lent I Needed

  1. I am also contemplating an article about Lent not being what we anticipate – because even though *we* have something planned, God has His own desires.
    Maybe because you don’t like change, you are a perfectionist (not judging – I’m in recovery for the same issue), maybe, just maybe this is God shaking you up a bit – saying, “Leslie, I am going to work on you this Lent!”
    But, I’m right there with you – trying to figure out the deeper meaning of my Lent not going according to plan… the kids and I both had stomach bugs on Ash Wednesday. They were fine by Thursday, and I was 98% Better by Friday. But, I feel as though it seriously knocked the wind out of my sails!

  2. Sounds like you are exactly where you are meant to be! As a fellow type-A leaning person, I can relate to the frustration of having your plan not flow. Keep doing the best you can and Lent will be what it needs to be.

  3. I can surely relate to feeling like the mortifications have chosen me this Lent and so I am just rolling with that! I will take the crosses and offer them to Jesus and walk with him down the Via Dolorosa.

  4. pwcamy

    Wow . .. this was beautiful. I love that your son chimed in with such wisdom! And honestly, I have missed Ash Wednesday in the past – and definitely did not do all the things you are doing this year! You are doing a ton – and God LOVES ordinary things. The greatest thing you are doing is loving your husband and family! God Bless you Leslie!

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  6. When you feel bad and guilty, just think of me. I guarantee I am a far worse Carholic. Haha! I know that doesn’t help, if at all, Leslie. But I know you know God understands. Anyway, hope John is feeling better. Xoxo

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