It seemed like a bad thing that the beginning of Lent coincided with daylight savings time, but it worked out well this morning since the kids slept in an hour. Besides doing the prayer of St. Ephrim with our morning prayers, and the food restrictions, it has felt like a normal day so far. A good day in fact.
We are off school for the week. It’s a lot going to church each evening and do the full load of school. So we are doing Morning Time, but not the rest. Hopefully this will keep things sane(r)!
Lunch was pb & js and veggies since we didn’t have leftovers. I had a big salad and a small sandwich. (Tip: Put hummus in your salad along with your dressing. Adds protein and creaminess! Sounds strange, but it’s yummy!) As I was making the sandwiches, I could smell the herb bread I made last night to go along with our lasagna. It made me think about pizza, but I’d been so gluttonous leading up to Lent that it didn’t really tempt me. I’m still ready for a cleanse. Wonder how long that will last. I also remembered how my husband, a friend from church, and I were talking about amazing food last night after Forgiveness Vespers. How ironic. So much of our thoughts center around food. I don’t think that’s fully wrong because food is a blessing from God. However, it needs to not become an idol. Definitely something to think about.
I had some extra quiet today. The kids were playing in another room as I was fixing the sandwiches. I felt pulled to put on a podcast or music. I wished someone would text me. I realized this happens all the time. I want a distraction. If I’m doing something mundane, I want something exciting to think about or listen to. This is exactly why I limited my podcasts. I need to get acclimated to less input and use that space for prayer and reflection. And today I did, a little, but I felt annoyed as well.
I only made it through 45 minutes of church. Will is out of town and, while Ella was very good for that time, sitting with my mom and sister, Theo was challenging. When Ella started to get squirrely and it was inching toward bedtime, I asked my sister-in-law to bring home the older two. I knew I needed to leave before I got frustrated and lost my peace. I’m past trying to prove anything to anyone or myself. I’m past thinking it’s not “good enough” to leave early, or just not go. In fact, I’m not going tonight. What worth is it to go to church if I’m frustrated, angry, and resentful inside about it, and taking that out on my kids? No worth.
It would be easy to feel like today was as much a failure as yesterday felt like a success, but it wouldn’t be true. Really, most of the day was really good. But the day also included two snacks, music to avoid silence, and yelling at my kids. Sigh.
I started to feel poor physically in the late afternoon because of low blood sugar. I had some trail mix, and it helped some, but I started to feel a quick dizzy feeling when I moved too quickly. I tried to slow down and just do one thing at a time and that helped. But then it was that crazy hour – everyone’s hungry, the last few things need to be done for supper and it felt like a zoo. Hence, some yelling. And after as well while trying to hurry up the kids to clean before they left for church. But, apologizes were given before they left and things turned around again, except I still wasn’t feeling well. Which is where the second snack came in and I felt better. Now the littles are in bed and I’m waiting for the big kids to come home.
In retrospect, yesterday feels like a crash and burn. The day’s events were fine, really, but by late morning I was dragging. It started with an adorable stray dog hanging out all morning. I ran to the store with the kids and it was still here. So I decided to post something on our neighborhood social media platform, something I’ve only done one other time – because of a stray dog. And I chose the worst time to be on my phone – while trying to put together lunch for the littles and put groceries away. I felt fragmented and scattered the rest of the day.
Speaking of social media, I haven’t really missed Instagram. Or rather, I certainly don’t miss being on my phone more. I don’t miss that, and yet I feel myself wanting something exciting from my phone. It’s weird. But I have felt lonely. I’ve been day dreaming of sitting on a deck, sipping wine will catching up with friends while the kids run around – every evening. Like, my friends just walking over for a quick evening chat. But no friends are in walking distance. Still, why don’t we (er, I) make more time for this? Oh yeah, because I get so stressed out about routines, messes, and bedtimes.
I had one on one time with a dear friend last night and I feel so rejuvenated! So much better than hours on Instagram. Which by the way, I was starting to miss. I miss sharing, and I think of those I “know” and wonder how they are doing. And so I feel torn. But I wonder what the cost is to “connect” through virtual reality.
Something we talked about got me thinking about my miscarried son Elijah, and so many other miscarried babies. And it got me thinking how amazing it will be to meet them someday. I longed to be pure enough to meet them. In the Orthodox Church, there’s a concept that heaven isn’t some place in the sky, but all around us and we can enter in if we just have the heart, the eyes, the purity. And that when we die, we will all be in the presence of God, but it will feel like heaven to some, and hell to others. If I have trouble being present in my earthly reality, how will it be for me in the true reality of the presence of God? If being in “virtual reality” takes my focus off of this earthly reality, how much further does it take me from the true reality of God? My mind and heart feel so much clearer after not being on Instagram for two weeks. I know so much good can come from social media. I’ve found a lot of enjoyment from it, and have worked through some of the challenges it brings me, but it just doesn’t seem worth the cost of moving away from my present reality and the truest reality that I want to grow to be more aware of. Does it draw me into the presence of God, or further away?
Overall, this first week was so blessed. Not because it was perfect (obviously!), but because it held both blessings and struggle. Wednesday was the hardest day, but most other days I felt very alive, more focused, and aware of areas I need to work on. Physically, I feel lighter, healthier and motivated to exercise more. As I expected, I didn’t have as much discussion with the kids about Sunday of Orthodoxy as I had wished, but there’s this afternoon right? And there are the church services, which are the best teachers of all.