I’ve learned a thing or two about pain in the last couple of years. First, I find it surprising just how much physical pain some people can endure without much complaint. Second, it is clear to me that I’m a pain wimp.
Fifteen months ago, while recovering from surgery, I experienced the worst pain I can remember. Last week I suffered a herniated disc that hit similar levels on the pain scale. It was a mercy when parts of my left leg and foot became numb. I ended up in the Emergency Room.
Last week’s pain reminded me of my tendency to call on God when in great pain or trouble while failing to acknowledge him during the bustling routine of life.
Perhaps that, in a nutshell, is why I find myself each year looking forward to the season of Lent.
As a convert to Catholicism, I find Lent a season of revival, but also a season of penance. And the physical pain I’ve experienced, along with my reaction to it, is a road sign that points me toward gratitude.
I’m grateful to be alive after fighting a disease that has killed others in my family. And, I’m grateful to be healing from a herniated disc, even if it means life changes that feel a bit like loss.
Those who observe Lent often choose something to give up for the season – a fast – as well as something to give to others. In addition, we seek a greater commitment to prayer. All this is done for many of the same reasons my old Pentecostal church held revival meetings.
This year, my wife and I get to walk the season of Lent together when it comes to fasting and giving. My commitment to prayer will be, in part, through the “faith” section of this blog.
While I can’t help but to come at this as Catholic Christian, I hope I can take this walk with my handful of readers – my friends – whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other. If we have one thing in common, perhaps it is the need for a revival of our spirits, and a life of gratitude: A sense that we are not completely self-made and that we are not solely responsible for the good in our lives.
So, this Wednesday I’ll step into St. Joan of Arc Church, take ashes on my forehead and be reminded that from dust I came and to dust I will return. And, I’ll take my first steps down the road of a 40-day Lenten journey. I’d like some company for anyone who cares to come along.