I always give up something for Lent–well, I have for the last twenty or twenty-five years anyway. It’s my little stab at doing something and sticking to it for a specified time. I can honestly say that I’ve always succeeded at it, too. If I vowed to give up chocolate or wine or sweets or . . . whatever for forty days, I did it. I think there was a little part of me that worried God would strike me with lightning if I backslid or cheated. I don’t know, but I’ve always been very faithful to my Lenten sacrifice.
However, this year, I wondered what would truly be a sacrifice–I’m already working very hard at eating well, so giving up something like chocolate or wine wouldn’t be all that much of a sacrifice. I make my living on the Internet, so I can’t give that up or social media which, although I wouldn’t mind a break, is also vital to my life as an author. I need to stay connected if I want to stay in front of people as a writer.
I thought and thought about how I’ve spent my energy and where my head has been and what I’ve done in last year and a half, and I realized that a real sacrifice for me would be to give up the knot in my stomach. Crazy? I don’t think so. That knot has been there for months . . . over a year and a half of almost continuous worry.
Worry over son, concern for Grandboy and DIL, grief over sister Kate, and worry about how sister PJ will ever get along without her and whether I can ever be the sister to her that Kate was. Worry over my career, as publishing is going through a sea change and editing gigs have ebbed and flowed. Fear that I’ll never be a decent enough writer to warrant attention from a publisher, and a huge fear that I won’t be able to earn enough as an editor/writer to pay my own health insurance costs. Worry over Husband as he retired and started a new phase of his life–our lives–and wondering how me continuing to work would affect his retirement.
Worry over my friends and the fact that they’re losing their parents and ones who are dear to them. I really want people to quit dying. Worry over my health, worry over Husband’s–we’re fine, but getting older and stuff is starting to creak now and again. Worry over my Dee and her fight with a wicked cancer, Connie and her fight with breast cancer, Di and her fight with breast cancer, and Sheila and her fight with lung cancer (which sadly, she lost last month). Why is there so much cancer and illness in the world? Worry that I’m probably going to have to have knee replacement and what if I have a heart attack or what if Husband does or what if Son’s asthma kicks up again? What if I can’t stop crying if I really let myself wail and howl over Kate dying . . . What if God is disappointed in me because I worry so much and never really let go and let Him handle the worries?
The list is endless and the knot is ever-present–it’s a part of me, always reminding me to worry about . . . something. But this Lenten season, I’m going to make every effort to give up that knot, banish it, dissolve it, make a conscious choice to stop worrying about all these things over which I have no control. To truly let go and let God.
I’m not certain, but I think there’s a chance this might be harder than giving up chocolate . . . however, I’m vowing to try.