Do I really want to go back there? That was the question I asked myself the other day when I got a phone call from someone who is practically my second mother. She was describing some issues her daughter was having and reached out to me for help. “You’ve just always been there,” she said. Prior to my moving to Oklahoma, her daughter (Lori) and I used to be close-we hung out or talked almost every day. I didn’t realize how one-sided our friendship was until I removed myself from the situation. Making that choice was one of the best decisions I have made. Even though I now live hundreds of miles away, I maintain frequent contact with her Mom. Her Mom asked me to write a letter to Lori as part a church project. When I read the request in an e-mail, my gut reaction was “No way- I am done with all of that.” Her Mom called later that night and we chatted. During the course of the conversation, I understood why she sought my help and ended up changing my mind. I no longer feel like I have to fix Lori or let her problems bother me. Even if I have moved on, I still care about her well-being.
Before beginning the letter, I’ll admit that there was a part of me that wanted to just unleash on her…share every thought that was going through my head. But that would have served no good to her and this was not about revenge-it was about getting her on a healthier path. While it took at least 3 drafts, I finally completed the task. I am glad I chose to go through with it as well.
I am so blessed to be surrounded by true friends and sincerely want the same for Lori. This morning at church, the homily discussed wells and the times we need to cover up the bad ones and look for a cleaner well. As I sat listening to Fr. Jim speak, I smiled. I was meant to help Lori cover up the damaged well and embark on finding a new one. God works in mysterious ways and I am grateful he gave me the chance to answer the call.
The homily for Ash Wednesday’s service revolved around the beginning of Lent and how Catholics should approach the next 40 days. Like many others, up until that moment, I was pondering what to “give up” for Lent. Granted, I would’ve learned to be more appreciative of whatever I gave up come end of Lent. However, Fr. Jim had another plan for me. He said perhaps instead of taking the easy road and giving up something like sweets, give up something that really could have a more profound effect like one of the 7 sins: greed, lust, gluttony, envy (to name a few). As I drove the short 3 minute stretch from the church to where I park for work, I thought about his homily. The sin that seemed to strike a chord with me the most is envy. Too often I will find myself wishing I had more in my life-this could be material things or even a relationship. Lent is a perfect time for me to step back and simply be grateful for what I do have instead of wasting any time on what I wish I had. No good comes from being envious of other people, relationships, etc… Why not count myself lucky for having people around me who can set an example for me? I would much rather focus on the good. Life’s too short for anything else. I have been so fortunate to be blessed with not only a great family but wonderfully genuine friends and co-workers. They make coming to work not only fun but make me feel like I can get through the day because of them. I have faith that everything will work out….one day, I will no longer get that funny little feeling of jealousy or envy when it comes to relationships. My time will come and even if it doesn’t, I won’t let envy blind my ability to embrace any opportunities that come along.
I was reminded this week that just when we think we’ve gotten past the big hurdle, the battle begins again. We feel defeated and frustrated…like we’re not making any headway or progress. While easier said than done, we need to trust ourselves by holding our head high and keep forging ahead. There will be people who will try to create roadblocks for us but we must persevere.