I'll confess I'm not sorry to see Lent come to an end this year.
Usually, I enjoy the Lenten season—although perhaps "enjoy" isn't quite the right word. I love that the liturgical calendar has a space for penitence and discipline, for the work of preparation that heralds joy and victory. But if I'm completely honest, what I probably like most about Lent is that it appeals to my dramatic side: the weeping and gnashing, the sackcloth and ashes, the oh-Lord-I-am-but-a-worm mentality.
These dramatic tendencies of mine might help to explain, in part, the Lent I found myself observing this year, the one that I am so happy to see come to a close. Early one morning shortly after Ash Wednesday I discovered my five-year-old daughter lying on the couch in her red footie pajamas, her arms outstretched and feet crossed. Wisps of strawberry-blonde hair framed her small face, twisted into a painful expression as she held her arms out to the side, cruciform. Atop her head she'd perched my U-shaped nursing pillow, to be her halo. All she lacked was a sign saying "This is the King of the Jews."
I knew at that moment it was going to be a very long Lent.
Since that morning, my children have enacted the Passion so many times I'm starting to feel as if I'm living in a medieval morality play. Oberammergau it's not, but the reenactments are heartfelt, and as the weeks have dragged on they've gotten it down to a science: my daughter plays Jesus dying on the cross, and my three-year-old son weeps. Then they switch. This arrangement leads to random comments like "Get off the cross! It's my turn to die."
As I watch them, I wonder what Lent will be like next year when the baby is old enough to play, too. How will they expand their repertoire? The Roman ...1
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