A Perfectly Penitential Lent



I’m thinking about hanging a sign out the front of our house that reads: ‘The Shaw Infirmary’.  

I kid you not.

Since just prior to Lent my family have endured two gastro bugs, two colds, sinus infections, worms and allergy flare ups. Between the six of us there has been at least one person feeling sick since February 1 this year. (As I write this we are approaching the end of March) and there’s little respite in sight.

One member of our family is having minor surgery on Holy Thursday and the month of May already contains four appointments with various specialists. As I said to my hubby the other day ‘I’m sick and tired of always feeling sick and tired’ cue Anastasia song here of the same name.

The cyclic nature of illnesses in our house means that we are rarely fully recovered before being hit with the next illness – mostly because we’re all run down.

I’m not looking for sympathy because today I’m feeling as though this Lent we gave up something more penitential than chocolate: we gave up our health. And boy has that been a penance.

But, strangely enough I’m starting to feel thankful for this time of sickness. I’m definitely not thankful for the carpet, mattresses, clothing, bedding and people I’ve had to clean, scour and disinfect or the times where our dinners were interrupted with projectile vomiting or our sleep broken by miserable children who just want a cuddle and some panadol. And the visual imprint of threadworms is one I wish I could unsee (bleugh!).

I am very thankful however, that hubby can handle vomit better than me! I’m thankful that this Lent has been unpleasant for us and that we have been able to offer our suffering in a penitential way. I am thankful that we can turn this time of sickness into a time of spiritual growth and I hope that we emerge at Easter with a greater degree of patience and thankfulness for good health. Sometimes I think we take this for granted. I am thankful that we have suffered through Lent and that we can approach Holy Week with a profound recognition of our sinfulness and a true appreciation for Jesus’ suffering on a huge cross.

But God, if you’re reading this, whenever you think it’s suitable, a respite from sickness would be very warmly welcomed!


Filed Under: Family LifeFeaturedSpirituality

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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