For those of you who don't know, my father Marty Green passed away on March 5th, Ash Wednesday. Since I write the post for Small Success Thursday usually on Tuesday of the week in question, I wasn't certain I'd be back or have the emotional or mental capacity to summon my "normally" chipper can do attitude about counting last week's blessings, except I was awash in them. To not stop and recall them would be to ignore the lavish downpour of grace received during this hard grieving time.
First, was the gift of answered prayers. My father died holding his bride's hand, I love that she was with him "till death do us part." and just the knowledge that he died with her, brings a great peace.
Second, was the gift of extended family. I loved getting unstructured and for me, uninterrupted time with aunts, uncles, cousins, even my brothers and sister. While I missed having my WHOLE family with me, the time with my first family allowed me to be fully present to those who came to share their stories about my dad.
Third, was the last lesson my dad taught, one in memorium. A long time friend of the family remarked on how whenever anyone asked my father to pray, he would stop what he was doing right then and there, put his hand in the hand of the person who asked, look them in the eyes and begin, "Our Father" or "Hail Mary..." and that weekend, I tried it out with my brother. Upon getting back to Maryland, I felt out of order with Lent, with life. Part of it was grief, part of it, readjusting to the annoying ordinary demands of life I'd removed for 4 days. But my Lenten goals especially, seemed now impossible.
So I called my sister to visit. There are 11 years difference between us, so we aren't in the habit of calling. Visiting felt right. At one point, I started to say, "We should pray..." and instead stopped. We said a Hail Mary. Impulsively, I suggested we call each other every day during Lent just to say a Hail Mary. She said she'd like that, and it's been a blast.
Thus far, the calls have been more, and it feels like this "Little Lent" is just right, and will yield better fruit than my grand ambitions. I still want to do the 40 bags in 40 days, it just will come out to somewhere around 33. Hope your first week of Lent brought you closer to those you love and the one who is love, and I look forward to seeing what you post as this week's Small Successes!