What I Learned This Lent

Giving things away this Lent to see what I can live without was a nice stretch. Even more so, seeing what things had run their course with me and that I no longer had need to hold onto was a very rewarding exercise.

I’m learning that I don’t need all the things that I think I need sometimes. Marion and I even are considering throwing out our cable TV package and just figuring out a way to watch the things we like to watch on the internet. I figured out that we’d save $500 a year if we were able to do that.

I remember as a child being upset because all my friends had cable and we didn’t. Then the VCR craze came in and we didn’t have that at first either and then I convinced my parents to get one. Looking back, I don’t exactly think I was bored. I was very active in school and that took up a lot of time, especially clubs and sports. I was active and in good shape–not great shape–but healthy.

The Lenten drive to workout more held well for a good deal of the season. Spring break took me out of the loop and the following week I didn’t connect with my trainer so I missed two weeks—and I really mean I MISSED it. The good news is that I continued to lose weight and eat well during that time. Down 15 pounds since my start in February, I enjoy the exercise. It is difficult but I always feel better afterwards. I just got back from my latest workout and I can see that I’m getting stronger. The guys who train me tell me, “Wait, until next month!” Meaning that I’ll be in really great shape by then. I never thought I’d look forward to throwing a medicine ball against a wall, or dragging sleds 40 yards, or especially getting up earlier to work out. But amazingly, I do.

What else have I discovered? Well, I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Working out and cutting out caffeine had me feeling good but also being really tired. I’d wake up with dry mouth and feeling unrefreshed from my restless night. So I will be having a second study done this week and getting a CPAP machine at some point. Hopefully, I can cure myself by losing weight, but regardless, I think the machine will help me lots. I’m glad I’ve decided to get healthier because it looks like I was headed down a bad avenue.

I’ve also discovered that my preaching this year has centered on a few themes. Eucharist, faithfulness and trusting in God–three tough subjects. But preaching continues to feed me and I really enjoyed doing a parish mission this lent.

Lastly and most importantly, I’m still learning the value of patience. I’m often impatient with my wife, my dog and with the way things are when I’m not happy with them. Resting in God and seeing that all will be well, if I just sit tight and enjoy the ride.

Today, let us pray that we can all be Easter people, who can be mindful of our lenten lessons and how we have been changed.

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