How is it already here?
I mentioned yesterday that I usually give a goodly amount of prayer and thought to how I approach this time of year. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a time of reflection. A time leading up to Easter to really contemplate Life and it’s Connections and my relationship with God.
This year started out with my sobbing hysterically the sentence, “Where is this God that I believe in so much?”
Cindy had just said, “our game plan is hospice…”
And as I sit here today, tears running down my face, I confess publicly that my first reaction was that.
To question in deep, oozy anger…WHERE ARE YOU? And what KIND OF GOD ARE YOU TO LET THIS HAPPEN to the BEST specimen of humanity on this Earth???
I don’t remember ever going there before.
Not when my parent’s fights would echo throughout the house.
Not when the sounds of breaking would tell me that my father was angry.
Not when my heart was weak and crumbly. . . over young love, older love, marriage vows, or loneliness.
Not when my friends would ache.
Not when my sister suffered.
Not when life was so bleak that I didn’t know tomorrow would come.
I’ve never gone there.
And I think that, subconsciously it’s one of the reasons that I come into this season without a plan. Also because in the same breath, I used all of my prayers and meditations on healing, and remembering, and organizing, and moving forward. So much pain this year, for so many. I’ve felt really separated from anything good and spiritual, personally, until Mom sent me a text last week. I was in the middle of frantically trying to find space to hold the celebruneral, to maybe house another person flying in for it, buying the right sweetners for coffee and making sure I had enough toilet paper and hoping that I had gotten the word out in time so that people could come. She said:
“Remember in your comforting to others that you may be the only door to lead them to Jesus. Not by preaching but by acting like Him in giving love and compassion.”
In the beginning of that text I instantly cringed. I’m not an evangelist. But I also rarely shy away from speaking about my beliefs. Then she got me. Yes. I can serve, I feel called to serve, by taking care and giving compassion. It’s not even something that I’m conscious of. I come from a long line of care-giving women. It did, I admit, make me feel a little bit better about how I was feeling towards anything that remotely had to do with God.
So, here we are.
Last year, I gave up Facebook for Lent. It was an amazing experience, and one that was really enlightening. The idea came to me in church one morning, and I just Knew, with a capital k that it was the right thing to do.
But it can become some sort of game, some sort of one-upmanship, deciding on “what to give up for Lent.” As with anything, the true meaning can get lost in the “I’m going to lose a pound a day, or I’m giving up beer, or fast food” or whatever it is that one gives up. The whole idea behind this season is to prepare ourselves, to reflect on our relationship with God, to look at what it is that might be getting in the way of that. I don’t know that the Value Meal Menu is the thing that’s coming between me and my relationship with God. Last year, however, I knew with unfounded certainty that the time I spent on Facebook…was. This year, I’m pretty sure it’s me who’s coming between us. My crazy life.
This morning I sit quietly with the front door open and the morning’s fresh air is flowing through my house, I haven’t turned on the tv. I’ve read some of my book club book. I’ve thought deeply about the experiences that we’ve all just gone through. I’ve been still. I’ve been quiet.
What I am going to pledge for myself this Lenten season is this:
I give myself a time each day to love this life I’ve been given. To care for it, tenderly, patiently and lovingly. To do something that helps make it better. This might be a bike ride, or walking on the treadmill. Passing up that glass of wine. . . or not. Passing up the cheese aisle in the grocery store. . . or not. Finding a healthy new recipe. It means giving myself time to meditate and pray each morning. To really focus on each day as the gift that it is. To be less crazy and sweaty and manic and rushed. To look at my relationship, not just with God, but with my friends and family and see what I can do to serve more. To be better committed. To find a way to love myself and this life I’ve been given.
That’s what I’m committing to for the next 40 days.