These last couple of weeks of Lent, the call to joy has not gone away, but I have been feeling a strong call to surrender. I admit that in the loneliness and depression of the last several months, there has been some bitterness. I honestly don't always want to surrender. However, I can't fully participate in joy if I don't surrender it all. There have been numerous things lately coming up to remind me of that (ok, God, I hear You!) To find joy in Him there has to be surrender to whatever He is allowing in life, to His will in that moment.
I have definitely found joy in the reminder that in all my failures during Lent and even before, grace is not dependent on me, but Him. There have been at least a couple of Masses that have been a terrible struggle to get through. Far from receiving comfort, it was the last place that I wanted to be and I couldn't wait to get out. But the joy is that the grace of the Mass transcends whatever my crazy emotions are for the day. There is joy in accepting those emotions, those failures and recognizing that I can't do one, single thing without Him. Anything in these last few years where I have found myself able to live in the moment, move forward, try to live life to the best of my ability, I can't do one single bit of that without grace. The depression and emotional and spiritual fatigue of these last months has helped me see that, if nothing else. And there is joy in understanding that on a deeper level. It's all grace, it's not me.
In the last few days, the joy has been on a little different level. I don't know why, nor do I much care, but the shadow suddenly lifted. In depression there are good days and bad days, but there is always a shadow. For the last 4 days, the shadow was suddenly gone and I feel like me again. It was a joy to be in Mass this week and to be entering into the holiest time of the year. It is a joy to feel like I can reach out again to people around me. It was a joy to simply get on the bike at the gym and ride as hard as I could because being alive is grand. It is a joy to realize the amazing grace that God has been pouring into my life when it didn't feel like it. I don't know if this is a short term thing or long term, but at the moment I don't much care. I just want to soak it up for however long it lasts.
In the ongoing Scriptural dialogue, here is the psalm from the Magnificat last night (psalm 20) speaking directly to my thoughts and feelings right now:
May the Lord answer in time of trial;
may the name of Jacob's God protect you.
May he send you help from his shrine
and give you support from Zion.
May he remember all your offerings
and receive your sacrifice with favor.
May he give you your heart's desire
and fulfill every one of your plans.
May we ring out our joy at your victory
and rejoice in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all of your prayers.
I am sure now that the Lord
will give victory to the anointed,
will reply from his holy heaven
with the mighty victory of his hand.
Some trust in chariots or horses,
but we in the name of the Lord.
They will collapse and fall,
but we shall hold and stand firm.
Give victory to the king, O Lord,
give answer on the day we call.
Tell me, how is your Lent going? Is there anything in particular that I can be praying for for you during this Holy Week? Prayer buddy, I will be continuing to pray for you this week, as well!