My daughter’s puddle jumping has given me soggy socks, wet jeans, and a new appreciation of how Lent draws us to moments of intimacy with God.
by Ryan Langr
Soggy Socks, Wet Jeans
With the unusually warm spring my nearly two-year-old daughter has been wanting to go on walks every day. She loves everything about walks: being outside, seeing all the cars, exercising, but most of all, the puddles. Yes, my daughter loves puddles, especially when she gets to jump in them and make a huge splash. We even bought her new pink-and-yellow rain boots so should could play in as many puddles as she wants.
Little did I realize that this meant I would be jumping in puddles too.
I love seeing my daughter happy, but the feeling of wet jeans, socks, and boots is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever known (I know, “first world problems”). Being soggy is uncomfortable—but Philomena loves everything having to do with water—puddles, baths, doing dishes, washing her hands. It has been a very soggy year.
So I tried taking walks with her in the stroller, but it just wasn’t the same. There’s nothing like holding your daughter’s hand as you walk down the street and she squats down to look at a leaf or blade of grass that she finds particularly interesting. There’s nothing quite like watching her point at all the cars, or bending down to hold her as you point out something she’s probably never seen before. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as catching her after she trips over her own two clumsy feet. So in the end, while I hate wet jeans and socks, the intimacy with my daughter makes it worth it.
Puddle Jumping with God
I’ll be honest: Lent is my least favorite time of year. It actually makes me quite crabby if I let it (I like meat… and food, and well, everything about my comfortable life). I know it’s “designed” that way, but I am week. The Church knows I’m week, and hence why we need Lent. But a good and fruitful Lent is about more than just strengthening your will or checking off the boxes of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent, at its foundation, is about intimacy.
It’s about the intimacy that empathy and compassion brings as we struggle with giving up simple worldly habits or skipping a meal, yet meditating on the fact that Jesus suffered and died for us. It’s the intimacy of prayer when we realize the only thing that gives us true sustenance and satisfaction is Christ himself. Finally it’s the depth of intimacy that can only arise from choice—choosing to embrace the suffering, whether it be minor or severe, so that we can hold the hand of Christ.
Finding the Silver Linings
Now, I don’t want to say that silver linings will be found in every instance of suffering. While it may be possible in some cases, it’s much more difficult to find a silver lining in the death of a child or a catastrophic event. Sometimes we have to just say, “I don’t understand.”
But as far as Lent is concerned, one way we can find intimacy in suffering is through finding the positive in our every experience, It is about mindfulness.
What is giving up Facebook teaching you this Lent? How is giving up that Coke drawing you closer to God? The lessons are there if you look, so don’t just give something up—be mindful and intentional about intimacy with God. Take some time this Lent, put on some rain boots, and go jump in some puddles.
Featured photo credit: Greg Clarke; used under a Creative Commons license.