by Dee Clark
"Let us lay aside all the cares of this life that we may receive the King of all... How often I have sung these words during the Cherubic Hymn on Sundays, but how difficult is it to really apply them not only during Sunday worship, but also throughout the week.
With meals to fix, clothes to launder, children to shuttle to and fro, tears to dry, endless questions to answer, noses to wipe, and a complaint, problem or request to solve... these are the cares of a mother. And that is just the cares inside the home! Then we add to that: traffic, bills, budgets, people with bad attitudes, drugs, violence, the economy, unemployment, destruction of unborn children, destruction of our natural resources, destruction of our creative minds.. Lord, you really expect me to lay aside all these cares?
And the voice inside my soul answers, Yes, my child."
"But how? If I don't fret and worry and try to do everything, who will?"
"I will, and I am."
"I know, I know, but it's hard to let go and trust you, Lord."
"My child, you are my most precious creation. Why would I not care for you and ALL your needs?" [Matthew 25:30]
It is during this beautiful 40 days of Lent that the Church helps us lay aside the cares. By adding extra services throughout the week, with beautiful prayers and psalms we can indeed "lose ourselves and our cares in the Lord. but, I have to decide to go to these services. Does that mean disrupting my routine of after-school commitments, TV viewing, housework, homework, leaving dinner dishes to do later, not relaxing after a long day.
I must push myself and my family out that door to Church... but once I get inside the Lord's house I take a deep breath and relax. I read the prayers with the priest. I think about them. Even if the children don't participate, they see me there and they are surrounded by the Church Triumphant. It gives us all a break away from the outside world. After all, the Lord told us, "You are in this world but not of this world."
When my children give me gifts for Mother's Day, I accept them and treasure them and use them as I can. Do I do the same with God's gifts, the sacraments? Do I free my soul from guilt through confession and repentance? Do I receive the Lord's food (Holy Communion) whenever it is offered? Do I study the instructions He gives us in the Bible? Do I read about the lives of the Saints which could inspire me to strengthen my faith? Do I get to services on time, participate and stay until the end? Do I pray daily?
Sometimes, I think that I do not have enough TIME. But I must be honest with myself. I waste my time with cares of this world.
And now I've come full circle.
This year, during Lent, I will get off this merry-go-round. Just for a short while, I will stop moving in worldly circles and jump into the Lord's waiting arms... He wants me, He loves me and He's waiting for me to come willingly.
And just maybe, with God's help, after Lent is over, I'll keep Him first in my life. The cares of my mother's world will still be there, but I won't be facing them alone and they won't seem so troublesome.
© 1996 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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