If you want to make God laugh, says the old proverb, tell Him your plans.
I thought of that, and of Karen Edmisten's thoughtful post, quite a bit today. Unlike past years, you see, I hadn't made detailed elaborate torturous difficult impossible Lenten plans. I made mild, simplified, focused, balanced, realistic Lenten plans, instead. I was going to have a good Lent this year...
...and out of the starting gate Kitten contracted the nasty cold/flu type thing that's been going around. She was coming down with it yesterday, but still wanted to go to Mass (and to tell the truth, the other adult soprano who regularly makes it to practice and Mass would have been pretty horrified if she'd been the only one there, as some of the songs we were singing were unfamiliar). I let her come with us, as she didn't seem too bad yesterday, but the poor girl spent most of today in bed with a mild fever and lots of congestion-related misery.
So today I was divided between teaching the other two girls and taking care of Kitten; of course, since she is thirteen this mostly means providing plenty of juice and soup and tissues and cough syrup doses on schedule and so forth. Still, as one of her sisters put it, it's weird when one of them is sick--it's like she's here, but not really, Bookgirl said, working through her algebra lesson alone.
I knew what she meant, and understood Kitten's desire to get up in the afternoon, too, even if it was just to lie on the couch and watch a movie with her sisters, who missed her quite a bit by that time. Somehow between the movie and dinner and laundry and tidying Kitten's room for her and bedtime I completely forgot to do any of the simple Lenten prayers or readings or activities I'd planned to do, to add to the simple sacrifice which was the only Lenten thing I actually accomplished today.
But tonight, as I gave a sleepy Kitten a bedtime dose of medicine and some water and made sure she had tissues and other things within reach and smoothed the top of her hair and kissed her forehead, she murmured, "Thanks for taking care of me today." And I smiled, and thought that the best way I can please God is by living my vocation, even when prayers and spiritual readings have to be pushed aside in favor of chicken soup, juice with a straw, and little plastic cups with ruby cough syrup measured out to the right little line. Even when it's Lent.