It may sound a little odd, but Lent is actually my favorite time of year. It is the time I feel most motivated to pray and grow closer to God. I remind myself of my self control and how I don’t need to watch Netflix everyday. And then above all, it ends in the Triduum, where Christ dies for our sins, and Easter, where He triumphs death and rises again.
But this was by far the most difficult Lent I’ve ever experienced. Granted, I’ve only gone through 5 Lents as I was baptized 5 years ago. But experiencing Lent in mission is definitely a new and difficult time. I feel like in some ways mission is like a year-long Lent. We sacrifice a lot (freedom, independence, time, etc) to come and live with others. This Lent, I tried to focus on what more I could do rather than only what I could give up. Of course there were things I gave up as well, but my focus was to not only give things up, but to pray and reflect more during the time I was normally doing other non-important things before. One thing I did (which some of you saw) was to post a quote, reflection, and photo from my time on mission everyday. This was something totally new to me, as I normally don’t post on facebook. I am thankful I did this, though. It helped me to reflect on mission and Lent, and I hope it helped others to reflect as well. I also did more spiritual reading and prayed more, which I’m also thankful for.
Honestly, I’m not sure of all the graces yet that I got out of this Lent. I know it really made me question why I’m here, my intentions, and how to go forward. I won’t go into all the details, but this past month or so we have had some serious things going on that have made questions arise from the girls and from us. The girls have questioned at times whether we are here just to boss them around, which I know they don’t always mean, but it does make me think about how I handle my relationships with them. I have tried to be more intentional, and make sure they know I am here to love them, but I also have a job to do. I have question if the reason I do things or think a certain way is because it’s something I want to do or because it’s what’s best for the girls. The question of 1 or 2 years has arisen again and again. Sometimes I want to stay for 2 years so I can have fun with the girls and love them. But when I look at the whole situation, I feel selfish for wanting to stay longer. They have people in here who will be in their lives permanently, or at least until the girls leave (the Sisters, the psychologist, other full-time staff). My role is not permanent, and it can almost be detrimental to stay longer and build deeper relationships. It’s so hard showing them I love them when I don’t want to overstep boundaries or invade their privacy. And I know I can never explain to them by thoughts and feelings and so they won’t understand that I will be leaving at the end of only 1 year specifically because I do love them.
Basically, Lent made me think and reflect a lot on myself and my time here on mission. I don’t have all the answers, but I am trying to live in the moment and have hope for the future. It was still a beautiful Lent, and I am thankful I experienced it. And now that it is Easter, I feel as though I have a little more clarity than I did before for some questions, although more questions have also arisen. But that’s life, right? All we can do is love, pray, and try to follow God’s Will for each of us.
I apologize that this isn’t more in depth or insightful. I am still trying to process everything, which I know is going to take me a long time. All I ask is for your prayers: for myself, my community, the Sisters, and the girls. Please know of my prayers for all of you. I pray you all have a Blessed Easter!