Yesterday I finally made it to confession. My goal for lent was to go every 2 weeks or so. But that stretched out to 3 weeks, and then after almost a month I faced the facts that I'm sinking in some of my habitual sins and God's grace is the life preserver I need to get out of that mucky pool.
In the confessional, after I finished listing all of my failings, the priest said something that really struck me. He told me: "Life is so short but after death will be an eternity, which is beyond what we can imagine! The struggles we face now pale in comparison. Keep your mind fixed on eternity, offer up any struggles that may come up and just keep persevering." I think those are some of the most encouraging words I have heard in a long time! When I think how this life is a mere droplet compared to the vast ocean of eternity, I suddenly feel the strength and motivation to continue in the midst of any hardship or temptation that might strike.
A song I was listening to recently also moved me with a similar theme. All Sons & Daughters' Called Me Higher is about how we could get all comfy in our little lives, we could hide away, be safe, never do anything different or challenging. But God has called us to more! So much more! We can't even imagine.
Furthermore, today's readings spoke of depth that goes beyond ourselves and our worries. In the first reading Queen Esther cries out in a desperate prayer: "O my Lord, you only are our king; help me, who am alone and have no helper but you...O Lord, [who] took our ancestors...for an everlasting inheritance, and you did for them all that you promised." The psalm continues: "For You have exalted your name and your word above everything. On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul....The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever." Finally, in the Gospel Christ affirms this omnipotence and faithfulness of the Lord, "for everyone that asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." God is infinite and in our short life on earth seeking Him will be the most fulfilling thing we could do. We will always be able to know Him better.
A life focused on God and eternity with Him does not mean a floaty, mystical, out-of-touch existence. On the contrary, it makes us live out the nitty gritty daily details with more purpose and love. And that is just the thing. Sometimes I try to fight the reality that life is nitty, gritty, tedious and repetitive. But that just leads to anxiety, fear and avoidance...and sin. Accepting these facts of life, with the realizations that it is a tiny portion of our whole existence and doing even the smallest tasks with our God-centered mindsets is the most freeing thing!