March 13, 2020

Reflection / Amelia Goffinet

Take time to be ‘in the moment’ throughout this Lenten season

What have you given up for Lent?

As we’ve been taught, Lent is 40 days of repentance, fasting and preparation for Easter. The 40 days of Lent remind us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. All the while, Satan was throwing temptation after temptation after temptation at him.

What does your temptation look like? Everyone is different, just as everyone varies in how to observe Lent.

Back in the summer, I became hyper-aware of “living in the moment.” I tend to think the Holy Spirit had a lot to do with putting the thought into my head.

My mother, who had been suffering with a long illness, was nearing the end of her life. With every visit, I found myself looking into her eyes—truly looking into her eyes, not just looking at her or around her.

Those were the beautiful eyes of the person who watched me grow from an infant to a toddler to a teenager and finally to an adult with children of my own.

I looked at her hands, the hands that were now the hands of a 93-year-old woman, knuckles gnarled from arthritis and thin skinned from age. Those hands were the first to hold me when I was born, the hands that corrected me when I needed it, and the hands that showed me love with her hugs.

I listened to her words, words that now were nonsensical, but she still had the cadence or flow in her voice that I grew up hearing, sharing—words with me that told me how to live life, words that taught me to pray.

My temptation was to use the visit to read the newspaper or to text with a friend or sibling. But, after the whisper from the Holy Spirit to “live in the moment,” I found with each visit I wanted to etch every moment with her into my memory.

Mom passed away in December. One of the things she taught me early in life was, “Live your life so you won’t have regret.” Such wise words from a very wise woman.

You may be asking yourself, “What does all of this have to with Lent?”

I’m finding myself noticing the world around me only to see so many others missing the moment. Their heads are always down looking into their phone. Singer-songwriter James Taylor recently said, “Distraction is a modern curse.”

I believe he may be on to something.

Along with giving something up for Lent, consider adding something to your Lenten promise. How about allowing yourself to “live in the moment?” Try putting your phone (the modern curse) down for a while each day, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are talking.

Enjoy nature. Watch the clouds as they pass by, noticing how they break apart to form shapes. Notice the smell of a storm moving through, and the change in the temperature right before it hits. Listen to the birds singing and the sounds of the wind rustling through the trees.

When I was very young, after dinner, my mom and I would sit on the front porch swing. We would talk and sing songs together. But, once in a while, she would say, “Shh. I hear silence coming.” I would stop talking, and we’d sit silently, just listening.

When I became an adult, I figured out she just needed some quiet time and that was a good way to get me to stop talking. But, it also blessed me with cherished memories.

Now, when I hear the horn from a far-off train, frogs croaking or crickets chirping, it takes me back to that porch swing with my mom. Such a treasured memory.

A wise fictional character, Ferris Bueller, famously said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

There are many things you can do for a Lenten promise. Be kind. Limit your screen time. Throw away or gift 40 things in order to de-clutter your life. Pray for something different each of the 40 days.

Janice Hughes says, “Rich is the person who has a praying friend.”

Take a moment each day for self-examination of your life. Are you the person who has a praying friend, or are you the person to enrich the life of others by being the friend who prays?

And, finally, are you living your life with no regret?

“Shh. I hear the silence coming.” Stop talking and listen. See what goodness comes when you are open to being “in the moment.”

Let us make our Lenten journey together “in the moment.”
 

(Amelia Goffinet is a health officer, a permanent substitute teacher at Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville and a member of St. Augustine Parish in Jeffersonville.)

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