I’m sipping coffee, listening to music, and thinking. When I returned to the Church twenty-seven years ago the experience was intense. From the moment of knowing Jesus in the Eucharist right through the entire Rite of Christian Initiation. The guy leading RCIA made mention more than once of my own intensity. God’s grace, and life experience have taught me a lot over the years, pointing out my imperfections for what they are, avenues to loving God, others, and my self. That first Lent spoke deeply to my heart, the act of giving up something I enjoy in favor of something better, in favor of Love of the Lord and the others in my life is sublimely indescribable. We are imitating Jesus forty days of fasting in the desert before beginning His public ministry, those three years that lead to the Cross and Resurrection.
When I started writing this I was experiencing a moment of deep sadness, for the first time in these twenty-seven years due to circumstances beyond my control I missed going to Mass or some service on Ash Wednesday. The reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return calls us to live deeply in this moment for in essence it’s all we have. We’re not guaranteed anything even our next breath. Giving consideration to “fasting from” something for Lent there, as always, are a lot of options. At first I thought I’d give up one thing for Lent and I am still, just differently than I thought. I’m limiting that to a short time. What I chose is not getting angry and frustrated while driving. Please pray for me. I live, and drive in a metropolitan area where driving is challenging at best and brings out frustration and salty language. I’m sure your shocked.
It takes work, hard work to begin to pray for those around me, to leave space for other vehicles to enter into traffic, to pray for them when they are driving aggressively or hanging on my backside in a way that is completely freaking me out because if I hit the brakes they’re going to be in my backseat. I’m reminded that each person driving is a child of God and deserves to be treated with kindness and charity, even while I’m driving, and probably later for an appointment than I ever hoped to be and I want to get there right now, and I can’t believe how slow traffic is going and this is frustrating and, and, and if they’d just move out of my way.
The good thing is that I drive a lot so there are lots of opportunities to pray and be charitable while going to and from. The difficult thing is that there are so many opportunities.
Our quilting world isn’t any different. I’ve had experiences where I’ve needed and wanted to be more patient with those I’m working with. Then there are the experiences where I’ve needed people to be patient with me and that grace isn’t extended. I can tell you the anxiety goes in both directions on this one. I want to be more patient and kind; I need more patience and kindness. My brain goes to the I’m not good/worthy enough. Yours does too, I know, I’ve seen it in action.
One of the most repeated things in the machine quilting classes is “we work six inches from our quilts, we know where all the bodies are buried.” We know where the missteps and flaws are, where the seams don’t quite match up the way we worked so hard to achieve, the stitches wobble in the “most obvious” of places. We can own these things and work toward improving them without berating our self or calling attention to them. We can appreciate the skill and hard work that another quilter has put into a quilt, pointing out the things we love rather than not liking something because it’s colors we don’t like or patterns we wouldn’t use out of personal preference.
By the end of Lent I know I’ll be a less frustrated driver because I’m praying for the needs of other drivers as I’ve practiced this before. The same thing can happen with other quilters the more I (we) appreciate what they bring to the world of quilting. I’m praying for you dear quilter friends, please pray for me that I respond more fully to the call of being a kind and courteous driver; to loving quilters deeply; to extending grace more fully; to use the God-given intensity to love others more deeply. How can I pray with and for you these forty days of Lent?
PS I have a photo that shows the God-given intensity from childhood.
PPS if you’re in the Westchester area this is a new Blessed is She group. We’re meeting on Thursday nights for a scripture/catechism study and on the third Saturday for brunch. If you’re interested please check out our fb page.