We’re halfway. Deep breaths, everyone!
It was a big weekend–Saturday, we celebrated World Autism Awareness Day, and yesterday was the Sunday of the Cross. I love that these two things shared a weekend.
Because here’s the thing: Lent is hard, right? Like, I’m thirteen-ish years into Orthodoxy, and it still surprises me every single day of the Fast just how hard it is.
It’s not just the fasting-from-food part. We’re fasting as a spiritual effort, and it’s that greater purpose that makes it so, so hard–just like making a physical effort to lose weight holds the greater purpose of becoming healthy, or feeling good in your own skin.
About those physical efforts. What if you’re ten pounds down, but it took you three months and no one’s noticed, and all you can see is how much further you have to go? You might feel discouraged. You might feel like you’re fooling yourself to think you can do this. You might think…I look like an idiot. Is this worth it?
I don’t know about you, but that’s how I start to feel, round about this third week.
We’ve exerted ourselves and probably failed a few times. Maybe spectacularly. We’ve probably all thought at least once, ugh, this is SO HARD. Is it worth it? Am I really accomplishing anything?
So the Church answers us with this week’s celebration. It raises up the Holy Cross.
It triumphantly holds up this symbol, which is everything to us, and declares YES. This is worth it. Don’t forget–The Victory, our Pascha is coming. Thanks be to God.
But here’s my favorite part about this year: the world raised up the blue ribbon on the *same* weekend that we acknowledge our hope in Christ’s victory.
For us, in the autism community, it’s the same sort of thing.
Everyday tasks are hard, and they’re hard every day. We feel alone a lot. We fight with insurance companies, governmental organizations, school districts, teachers, spouses, and other parents and their kids. Day in, day out.
And sometimes we think, are we really getting anywhere? Is this doing anything? Am I improving my kid’s life at all? Even a little?
Maybe, maybe not. But if not, we hope, and we keep trying to find the right path. We keep on because we have to. We keep on because the alternative is abandonment.
That’s when solidarity has value.
That’s when it means something for someone to say, “we see you there.”
Today, it’s us, too.
I’m going to go about my business, and while I do it, I’m going to show my respect for how you carry on.
It’s not just your family, your city, your country. It’s all of us.
Fight the good fight. Keep the faith.