Let’s set the stage.
On this day in 2012, my wife and I decided we were tired of waiting. Actually, let me rephrase that. We’d been tired of waiting. However, February 7, 2012, we decided enough was enough and began packing for an extended stay at the hospital. Last year, this day was a Tuesday. We moved into the baby factory ward in the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
Well, that was a night filled with questions. And anticipation. And frequent trips to the bathroom (I have a weak bladder when I’m nervous).
The next day, we did all the things one does when inducing labor. I won’t go into those, mostly because they were trying to revive me after I saw what they had to do in this procedure. Seriously, medical community. Fetal teleporters. Let’s get this done.
Anyway, several hours and nail marks into my arm (mothers in labor hurt), we were graced with Elizabeth Jane Cunningham. February 10, 2012. A glorious day.
Here, one year later, I watch her take her first steps toward me, saying “da da” along the way. I hold her as she snuggles against my chest in the rocking chair. I absolutely adore this child, more than I ever thought I would. And, as luck would have it, her birthday is days before Ash Wednesday, a day that, for Catholics, begins a season of reflection and repentance.
Over the course of this year, I have had to make a lot of changes. Some, I’d like to think, have made me a better person. Some just plain screwed me up. But as we get to this particular season, I think it’s time to look into this in a much closer light.
Not publicly, of course. I will not burden you with my thoughts, problems, dreams and whatever else runs rampant in this strange and confusing place most people call my head. Instead, Catholic or no, I call you to begin reflecting on your year during this season of Lent. It’s okay to question what you did, whether or not it was the right move. It’s okay to think back and be angry at those who slighted you. But, most importantly, it’s okay to ask for forgiveness. From God (or whatever being to pray to). From someone you hurt or offended. From yourself.
Lent is a very powerful time of the year. At the end of the season, after we look at all of our sins and ask forgiveness, we get it: Jesus died for those sins. He rose again to show they could be defeated. And that, my friends, is why this season exists. It’s not about the giving up of chocolate or going without a steak on Fridays. It’s about renewal, becoming a better person, and moving forward to be the best person you can be.
And, while you may fall, it’s absolutely important to remember that there is a being out there that is willing to forgive and welcome you into his arms. That, my friends, is love.