Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent, and I've spent most of it in bed.

Last night I felt the first touches of some kind of throaty ailment -- shallow cough, aches, weariness. This morning, when I'd planned to get up early and do something spiritual, I instead slept in, sore and heavy and thick of throat. I took a nap mid-morning and listened to the children rattling around downstairs, glad to be unsupervised in terms of schoolwork, but otherwise at loose ends, and I didn't really care because I felt too stupid. I read a bit, but from Sherlock Holmes, not Jillian of Norwich as I'd planned for my Lenten reflections.

I don't really mind. If God has sent me a cold to start off Lent, that's the penance he wants me to take on. As I lay in my warm bed under a cozy comforter, I thought of the news article I read the other day about families suffering in Syria because of fighting, driven from their homes in the winter. A man arrived at the hospital clutching his tiny child only to learn that he'd been carrying a dead, frozen little body. I held that little body to myself as I shivered under my blanket, and offered my cold and even my comfort for that family.

How does one offer one's comfort? I don't know, but the Morning Offering we pray each day at our family prayers starts off: "O my Jesus, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day." I don't know that I'm joyful at this moment, but if there is ease in my enforced rest, surely I can offer that for someone who has no ease at this moment. If I'm warm, I can offer it for those suffering from the cold. If my life circumstances allow me to be sheltered and safe, I've been given a place of respite from which to pray for others.

And then I might have some tea with lemon and honey, even though it's Ash Wednesday. Swallowing it might be penance enough.


Melanie Bettinelli said...

Sometimes I think a nice bout of being sick and getting to spend all day in bed sounds heavenly. Of course, I'm forgetting about the being sick part.

But being able to offer that ease and relative comfort for someone worse off than you... that is a gift in deed.

As we start out into the deeps of Lent I am already remembering that my biggest trial is usually myself and my own stubborn inability to turn away from the things I know darn well I ought to turn from. Including my own love of comfort and ease. I guess this is me realizing how much I need Lent.

Jenny said...

I am joining you in drinking the hot tea for a hacking cough and a tickly throat.