Happy Ash Wednesday, Workday, and Valentine’s Day

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Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

What to? What to do? I thought it was interesting that all of these events on one day has become a side news item. This morning I saw a poll asking: What are you celebrating? Valentine’s Day? Ash Wednesday? Not celebrating? Or both?  I just had to vote for both.

Being a true American, I can do it all! Right? Well apparently I’m in the 14th percentile of the voters. The most votes, 41% as of this morning, were not celebrating…at all.

My dear husband is also Catholic and an Uber Driver. So he’s working on V-Day and Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day being on the same day in the middle of the week was a topic of conversation for a few minutes. We have our priorities. God, our marriage, family, and work in that order. However a secular holiday like Valentine’s does not break our marriage. Most of the time, we celebrate with just a “Happy Valentine’s” and a kiss.

This year we wanted a date. In our typical non-traditional way we had steaks on the grill with fixings, yesterday evening. Yes, I said yesterday, we beat the crowds and the cost! We finished it all off with coffee and a sliver of King Cake from Naw ‘rleans. Ahhh…so nice enjoying each other, leaving today open for God and work.

Now remember, Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. I want to spend time with my Lord for the first day of Lent. But we both need the finances secured by our jobs. And being an Uber driver means my guy must work on evenings that promise to be busier. Like a holiday. It’s just a fact of life {shrug}.

Back in the day, I would insist on it all. I would hit the morning mass, go to work then, get dressed up, dinner out, maybe a little clubbing…And crawl out of bed the next morning with a headache and maybe a little hungover. It was not conducive to working effectively.

Today I went to work. I wasn’t sure if I would make it to the evening services this year. Practicing my Lenten commitment, I pushed the nagging little voice aside as I focused on my work. You know, what I’m actually getting paid for, imagine that! On the drive home I got two phone calls from my father. Here’s the thing. My dad hates it when I call him or answer the phone while I’m driving. But, he calls repeatedly when I don’t pick up the phone.

He wanted to talk about the news. Yes, the shooting is the big story in Florida tonight. I was praying for the victims while he was panicking about me being near the scene. He knows I’m at least an hour north of where the shooting took place. Needless to say, I was tense at the thought of having to calm down an eighty-six year old worrywart. I wonder where I get that worrying habit from…Hmmm.

I did not make it to the Ash Wednesday services. I did stop by the church and pray to calm my spirit this evening. I was blessed with the traveling painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. For one night only! We parishioners were called to visit and pray.

I always talk to God first. I asked Jesus for help with my father. I asked for the words to calm his fears. Thinking about what petition I would ask Mother Mary to pray for, my mind went blank. “Peace” whispered through my racing thoughts. I asked the Mother of Jesus to pray for peace in my family. Please pray for my father to receive the peace he needs. Please support my prayers to be peaceful with my father. Then I asked for Jesus, Please grant my family peace.

I didn’t understand what I asked for until I was home. I had to turn off the news. It was so horrific. If you’ve experienced any tragedy, the news tonight makes your heart hurt for those young adults and families. All I could do was pray for those affected. As I prayed I again prayed for peace for the emergency workers, families, injured, and dead.

At that point I realized my father is a fearful worrier. He does not have peace in his life. He may never have had peace. His constant state of motion forces peace away from him. I had to sit down. It explains so much about my restlessness in life. My family needs peace. The only source I have is Jesus.

This is what I ask of those who are praying for me here in the physical and those in the spiritual realms: Pray for peace. Peace of mind, stillness in the soul, peace of acceptance, peaceful words…Jesus promised:

26The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.28 You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. [John 14:26-28 NABRE]

I’m asking Lord for peace tonight. Not only for me and my family but for you and yours too. The label for day doesn’t matter. The way we live matters.

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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Peace my friend, Milly

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