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Friday, February 24, 2012
Lenten Daily Dose - Day 3
Lent and Relationship
I have been married for twenty years. The first ten years were all about doing the right things to reach the goals I had promised my family. My life was all about getting things done. At year nine the “crash” started to happen.
For the first nine years my goals were all about providing, achieving and accumulation. But it never occurred to me to put “grow in relationship” on my life’s list of things to do. Year nine was very lonely and confusing. I did not know my family, my wife, my friends or my God.
Perhaps what confused me most was that I knew I was hurting, and did not know what “to do about it”. “To do about it” were the key words. For my entire life solutions to any problem meant that I had to get busy and “do” something. I tried drinking a little, I tried working a bit longer, I tried to increase my frequency of religious practice, I tried to read more books to my kids, I tried more dates with my wife. The hurt only got bigger and I finally surrendered.
The surrender was the best thing I have ever done. I surrendered and said “I cannot DO this by myself” “My life is not a large TO DO list”. I need to put the list away and focus on the one thing I knew least about. I had to admit with my whole self that I needed relationship. I had to also admit that I knew next to nothing about what relationship meant, and I needed help.
God heard me and immediately answered. This is the moment God had been waiting for. God had been waiting for thirty some odd years to be invited into my heart. He immediately sent my wife to minister to me. My children became my teachers. A small group of spiritual men gathered around me. I learned to experience and be in relationship with God and those around me.
My surrender was the hardest thing I have ever done. It started a journey of the hardest work I have ever accomplished. I have no degrees or things to show for this work. But I do know God, and have peace.
I tell you this story because it reflects how I have approached Lent. For most of my life lent was a time “To do” something. My hope was that in exchange for my forty days of penance that I would wake up on Easter morning at find some miraculous change in my life. Yet, miraculous change only happened when I surrendered and started allowing God to help me do the hard work of relationship. Now each Lent I surrender more to God and ask for the grace to be shown more and more about relationship. Now, Easter is truly a miraculous day.