Kicked off by Sebastian's death, Ash Wednesday found me running a fever and sick with some annoying flu, with its attendant malais, coughing, and having to sleep sitting up. For a full two weeks I had the energy level of a salted slug.
During that time, the family tried to adopt a new pup, but sadly, the breeder lied about the little tyke's mental and physical fitness, and he was returned to the breeder's ownership so that she can be responsible when he seriously bites someone, which he will undoubtedly do.
Howie turned 13. That's old, and my dear little dog is definitely showing his age. He falls down if he doesn't focus on how he moves, and sometimes he panics when he can't get his feet back under him. Fortunately he doesn't roam around the house when I'm not here, and when I am here, he's with me, so I can get to him and calm him down until he can regain his feet. But I've noticed him bumping into things, and getting confused if he wanders into an unusual part of the yard; I have raise my voice to get his attention instead of the whisper or snap of my fingers I used before.
And Dink, my horse, is now 24 years old. That's old, too. He lost weight again this winter, so I have to supplement his feed with five pounds of senior horse feed each day. His energy level has tapered off and he's having trouble chewing his food properly.
A couple days ago, in a mood of purgation, I cleaned out my bedroom closet. It was disgusting; I don't think I'd cleaned in there for five years, maybe more. I ended up throwing out two huge garbage bags of clothes that were so junky (and unworn anymore) they weren't eligible to donate to charity, getting rid of ancient electronic equipment coated with San Joaquin Valley dust, and packing two more bags of clothes that were donatable that I just didn't want to wear anymore.
What does this mean for a Lenten message to me? Loss, impending loss, paring down the things I hold... I keep going back to this paragraph in St. Ignatius of Loyola's "First Principle and Foundation:"
... as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.
I love my life, the world I live in, the people and creatures around me. But I do not own them. I must learn simply to honor them all, and rejoice in the Creation that has held them.
The photo is of blossoms on my cherry tree.