a matter of timing and Lent

So being Catholic, Lent presents itself with the opportunity to give up something.  To fast from something - to leave something behind. 

I grew up like most Catholic kids, giving up Coke, sweets and a plethora of such. As an adult I still found myself giving up coffee (never again simply for the sanity of both my husband and my boss), chocolates and things like that. 

Then a couple of years ago I changed this, I found that I wanted to give up a habit or behaviour or addiction, rather than a "material" thing.  It has worked for me for the past 2 years.  This year I decided to give up lateness. 

You may think this is a rather simplistic choice.  If you know me you will know differently. I leave for everywhere at the last possible moment.  I lie in till the last possible moment. It is now a habit.  A long standing habit.  And I know it is annoying for my family, particularly my hubby and especially my kids who are time conscious.  Two friends have been quite outspoken about my habit, particularly one, which is strange as that friend is often late with simply no reason at all.  But as this is my "I have no faults so let us discuss yours all the time" friend, I have decided to "keep my side clean". 

It has been quite a challenge.  So as it is my Lenten challenge, I will end the 40 days mid April knowing that is has challenged me considerably.  As our priest says, "we should be feeling the burn of Lent about now".  I was feeling it on day 3 already. 

I do not have a problem with setting my alarm to give me adequate time to get up and get ready.  I have never had a problem with this.  However I do have a huge problem with reacting to the alarm.  The snooze button and I are best friends.  I now set the alarm even earlier so that I can still have two snooze hits and then get up at the time that I should be. I have to practice leaving work on time - it is a major problem which impacts on my son.  I have had great challenges so far in Lent doing this one because I am by nature not a "clock watching" employee. 

I make a habit of leaving the house at the correct time.  If my hair is not finished or anything else, I have to leave.  This encourages me to be ready before the "leave now" alarm goes off. 

During the day I make sure that I am where I should be, at the time I should be, unless it is beyond my control. 

The interesting thing has been my time conscious family.  Because now that I leave on the dot at the correct time, I regularly find myself in the car, idling the engine and hooting for them to hurry up.  They don't like this.  Because now they cannot lecture me.  

Have I failed sometimes?  Yes.  It happens.  We are talking about a longstanding habit. However I keep reminding myself that many people who give up red meat because their consumption is too much, too much alcohol, choc addictions etc, rush straight back to those vices after the 40 days is over, which is fine.   I am struggling now to set the groundwork for what must become a permanent habit after Lent.  So yes I fail sometimes.  And that is ok with God I am sure. 

I have become so used to being a little late, that now that I am making a concerted effort, I get very touchy when someone makes comments about it.  Recently a friend made a joking blase' remark about me and my lateness.  It was annoying and hurtful, even though I know they were very much tongue in cheek.  Each person tries with their Lent. Lord knows I have.  

We all try in our own way.  Some people give things up privately, I know one person who completely gave up their phone and IPad except for Sundays because their behaviour on it is morally questionable.  I know it is a huge struggle for them, I wish this person knew that I understand and know their challenge.  Some people are happy to share their challenge with others. It is not our place to judge.   

Encourage habit changing efforts of others, encourage habit changing efforts that you are performing. 

And find the time to pause.  Before you speak.  Before you act.  Before you judge.  Before you change.  Before you do anything.  EVERYONE needs to practice the pause. 

much love till soon 
c'est la vie 

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