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Merridith Frediani confesses to putting extra pressure on herself to make sure her Lenten observance is "good enough."

Oh, somewhere in that favored land the sun is shining bright 
The band is playing somewhere and somewhere hearts are light. 
(Ernest Lawrence Thayer, "Casey at the Bat")


It was a Casey-at-the-Bat moody Monday. Had it been a few degrees colder it would have been a snow day, but alas it was an all day rain of Biblical proportions instead. My daughter, at college in the South, sent me pictures of blossoming cherry trees and, while I appreciate this beauty, I am sadder for me that it’s still several months from now until we see that happy sight than glad for my daughter who doesn’t have to wear a winter coat anymore. I’m bundled up like the little brother in A Christmas Story.  

Here in the upper Midwest, we are still in the winter slog with miles to go. I admire those hearty people in Alaska who handle way worse. Me, it’s harder and harder to crawl out of bed to pray each morning, not because I don’t desire to be with the Lord but because my bed is uncommonly warm and comfortable. I’m dreaming of dahlias and the day when the box of turd-like tubers arrives and I can stick them in the ground where God works his wonders and creates beautiful flowers. I recently discovered ranunculus and I’m toying with that challenge for this spring. There is hope. 




There is always hope. The sun, while not a frequent sight, is higher in the sky and the days are getting longer. Lent is aptly timed at least for those of us for whom a snowstorm in March is not unlikely. We enter the spiritual desert while we still languish in the winter desert and when we exit with the resurrection of Jesus, if it’s not spring, it will be soon.  

This year for Lent I’m adding extra prayer time to my weekly routine but already I wonder if it’s enough. This is when having Catholic friends is hard because everyone is doing something worthy, and I sometimes wonder if what I’m doing is enough. I’m fearful that I’ll enter into more prayer only to not feel the feelings I feel I should feel. I put too much pressure on myself to make it a “good Lent,” but what does that even mean?  

The things that make it “good” are different for each of us and it’s important to remember that just as each of us has an individual, personal relationship with Jesus, how we live the Lenten desert is different and individual as well.   

This is what I need to surrender to Jesus. I need to believe that what I’m doing is good and the fact that I’m trying to love him more and put him more at the center of my life is sufficient. I very well may not feel the feelings but it’s not about feelings. Feelings shouldn’t be the gauge by how I measure a “good Lent.” I know that I am imperfect, but I also know that Jesus is alongside me this Lent and the fact that I am making an effort out of love for him is valuable.  


Click to tweet:
Feelings shouldn’t be the gauge by how I measure a “good Lent.” #CatholicMom

We can’t know if it’s a good Lent or not because often what we do now influences the future more than the present. I like to think I’m like the lilac bush outside my front door. I noticed tiny buds on the branches yesterday. In a couple months those will bloom into fragrant purple flowers. With God’s grace I am building buds from my work in this desert and in the future something lovely will result.  



Copyright 2023 Merridith Frediani
Images: Canva
"Casey at the Bat" is in the Public Domain