Archive for the ‘Lent’ Tag

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down   6 comments

My memory is like cellphone reception in the sticks–very iffy.  I am a full-spectrum forgetter, from the trivial pen to the crucial time sheet submission, and everything in-between.  I’m so good at misplacing things that I’m surprised to find them where they belong–the cupboard is the last place I look for my coffee cup.  I have a whole strategy for dealing with my incompetence–jotting myself reminders and propping them in key places (my computer keyboard, my Honda dashboard) or leaning things against the door so I can’t leave without them.  I am totally prepped for the onset of Alzheimer’s!

Along with my other inveterate shortcomings, It is my wild forgetfulness that wakens my memory, that keeps me aware of my own inadequacy.  Some folks are so successful or competent or busy or distracted that their memory needs to be elbowed into recalling their own failings.  They get good grades at work and church and family and pick up extra credit volunteering at the mission downtown.  Their lives, unlike mine, constantly point to their virtues and accomplishments, and it is their failings that they forget.  They need reminders, blacked out calendar days, time set aside to reflect on the noxious embers that still smolder in their bones.  They need Ash Wednesday.

But I need Resurrection Sunday.  I live in the ash heap of my own failures, reflecting back on them not for 40 days, but 40 years.  I don’t need reminding, I need rescuing.  What I need to remember, always remember, is Easter, the joy of forgiveness.  My hope cannot be in outgrowing my faults or in forgetting them, but in living my present messy life in the full embrace of God, the God who not only accepts me in spite of my past failures, but also in expectation of my future ones, who is not put off by my need, but is drawn to me because of it.  We all fall down, constantly fall down, but may we land in His grace, not in our own self-loathing.  And may the ashes on our foreheads be the sign of our mutual poverty as we hold one another’s hands and dance together in the glorious light of His redemptive love.

Posted February 19, 2015 by janathangrace in thoughts

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Lent for a Tired Soul   3 comments

Coming from a non-liturgical religious upbringing, I didn’t even know about lent until well into my adult years.  As my whole life was lived in self sacrifice, I didn’t feel the need to dedicate one particular season to it, and once I started to heal from this self-flagellating outlook, I could not really practice sacrifice in any sort of healthy, spiritually beneficial way.  This is the first year I chose to give lent a whirl, looking for the kind of focus that would be a meaningful blessing to my soul.  For lent I decided to give up hurry and haste.

SLOW DOWN!

Driving was my first focus.  I have stopped trying to make yellow lights, I leave earlier for work, and I look for things along the road I have missed in the past in my rush to get somewhere… to actually find pleasure in the trip itself.  I have started to work on tasks at a more deliberate, even slow, pace.  I have given myself the right to accomplish things on a calmer schedule, or even to leave them undone…  to walk thoughtfully, absorbing the moment rather than focusing on the goal, destination, or end product. It requires a good deal of trust to depend less on myself, my efforts, and allow God to cover for me.  Giving myself permission to rest is a vital spiritual exercise, one of the oldest life principles in the book, the intentional counterpart to creative work (as the Genesis story of beginnings recounts).  My guess is that work is neither creative nor blessed (to ourselves as well as others) if it does not arise from a rested heart.  Life isn’t waiting for me at the destination. Life is what happens while getting there.

Posted March 3, 2012 by janathangrace in Life, Personal, thoughts

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