Lent: Day Twenty-two

Today is a family work day and so far it has been filled with all sorts of hustle and bustle so. We live in a house that is at least partially an ongoing construction site. We have vacillated over the years as to whether to tear the house down and rebuild or just to fix it up.

Our decisions have been largely guided by money. We started out just trying to fix it up, which was necessary to make the place even minimally livable. At the time we had almost no money. When things were going better and we thought we would have the money, we got an architect and planned a new structure on the old footprint (for code reasons and to avoid having to file for a variance with the county, with all the attending problems). Then the stock market imploded and business dried up (the majority of my clients were dotcom companies). Our tear down plans went south (temporarily we hoped) and we started fixing things up to tide us over and keep my daughter from being embarrassed when people came over. We are still in the midst of that effort.

This weekend we are preparing our house for a visitor. Since my wife and daughter are accompanying me to Las Vegas for a conference I am speaking at, we have to find someone to house sit. Our animals (two dogs and two cats) need someone to take care of them and none of us want to have them kenneled. To avoid mortifying my daughter and by extension, her friend, we needed to do a thorough pre-spring cleaning as well as fix a few things (it is easy for us to live with a somewhat jury-rigged house, but a guest alone is another matter. The young man is coming to get acquainted with our beasties on Monday evening so if he survives that experience we should be all set.

As a result, I have been helping to rearrange, pick up, clean, and of course, give my opinion. All in all, it has been an other-centered day, a bit of what Lent is all about if you think about it. Not only do we focus on God during Lent, but you also try not to focus on yourself. One way you can accomplish that is by doing things for other people, including letting them have their way, which may mean learning to bite your tongue and just say, “OK.” I am getting better at doing that, but I have a long way to go, which makes it a good exercise for Lent.

Even though my first thought is usually something like, “Do I really want to do that?” my second now moves to “Can I see a way to do what she wants?” Hopefully over time, my second will tend to become my first and I will be generally more other-centered.

May God grant you the grace and peace you need today.