For instance, last Sunday my community and I hosted another Murder Mystery, this time a Mardi Gras brunch. A number of guests poured into our humble home to the wafting smell of french toast, breakfast casseroles, bacon, sausage, and warm sticky buns. How did we get here? We planed--a guest list, menus, shopping, decorating, etc., etc., etc.
Easter is the party, Lent is the planning! But it's not a physical party, it's a spiritual and introspective one.
40 days Jesus went out into the desert, the unknown, where he was tempted by the devil. These 40 days brought him to an understanding of his call to ministry. Today I am embarking on the most profound 40 days to date. Tomorrow is my last day as Campus Minister at Neumann University. I have loved working with the students, and will miss them dearly, but I have known for some time now deep in my heart that this is the time to move on. Tomorrow I step foot into the desert.
It's a weird conglomeration of fear and excitement that exists within me. It's always difficult to move on from something, no matter how good, bad, difficult, or easy that thing has been, at least it was "known." The desert is unknown and that in itself is intimidating.
A few months ago I shared with the candidate director my desire to ask for official acceptance into the Novitiate with the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia. I have been filled with joy since making this decision known, but I also recognize there are many things to settle in my life in order to be prepared to make this move. Leaving my full-time ministry is giving me the space to work on preparing for this next step, both physically and emotionally.
While I will be spending time volunteering to fill my days, I am looking forward to having the time and space to just be with God. In spiritual direction last week my decision was confirmed, it is as if God has carved this time out in my life and has invited me into a deeper relationship through the gift of this space. For the first time I am entering into Lent with a renewed excitement and sense of mission.
Closing the chapter on Neumann has been more emotional than I originally expected, but today I was gifted with words from a dear "Soul Sister" of mine. She wrote, "Your mission here was far beyond your comprehension . . . " her words of affirmation of God's work through me brought me to a moment of deep spiritual ecstasy where I realized that God is giving me everything I ever desired, just not in the package I had imagined. My Lent has begun with resurrection, crazy but true, the hope of this resurrection leads me deeper into the sands of the unknown, where I will undoubtedly be planning the next party!