I’m sure I got a chuckle or two with that opening line… or maybe I’m the only one with a mind that operates that way. Regardless, I think the statement “The first time is always the hardest” is true in so many ways – both good and bad. Last week I missed mass not once, not twice, not even three times… but four times. It started Monday – and as I write this nine days later, I’m having difficulty recalling just why I missed mass. Work has been more than hectic lately, for sure… Project after project, obligation after obligation. I know I’m not unique or special in saying that I’m busy at work. Tuesday of last week took the cake – I had a meeting here at the office until about 7:00PM and then stayed here working on a project until almost 11:30 before heading home, only to stay up until 2:30 in the morning. Wednesday was more of the same. I finally got myself back to mass on Thursday of last week, only to miss again on Friday because I was traveling to Savannah.
Does missing mass make me a bad person? No – I know that it doesn’t. But I question more what it says about the promises I make to myself and others and how it speaks to other behaviors. Most people feel bad when they don’t do something they say they’re going to do. It’s human nature – or at least human nature for those with a conscience. But have you ever noticed how after the first time you either do something “bad” or don’t do something you said you were going to do, the second, third, etc. time gets a little easier? Is that why people make New Year’s Resolutions to get healthier and the gym is empty again by February?
I was at a meeting on Monday and one of the presenters said something that has stuck with me – he said, “There’s no such thing as trying. Either you do or you don’t.” I could easily say I tried to get mass those four days, but at the end of the day, I didn’t make it a priority and I didn’t find the time to go. It made me look at other areas of my life where I either do or I don’t. “I will try to get in touch with that friend,” or, “I will try to spend less money on dresses and shoes and save more or donate more.”
The last couple weeks of Lent are undoubtedly the hardest. We lose steam and focus. We wonder if the things we gave up or the things we’re doing extra are making a difference. I’m not going to just try to make it to mass each day for the rest of Lent. I’m going to make sure that I do.