The topic of conversation amongst many Christians this week is “what did you give up for Lent?“. An eavesdropper will occasionally interrupt the complex weaving of conditions surrounding various abstinence commitments with a simple “why are you doing this again?” I know they are thinking that we might have lost the plot with some of the intricate formulas we create -anyone heard of anything like ‘no red wine on week nights, except Tuesdays’, ‘no shouting at the kids in the car going to and from school’, ‘no chocolate at work in the afternoon, unless we’re in a boring workshop’ …. You get the idea? Crazy, right?
There are many reasons given for all this: preparation for Easter, renewal of spiritual practices, penitence, etc, you can look them up — but what is the real reason at a personal level? And how do you connect these clunky contracts with spiritual progress?
It seems that the best we can hope for, is some new change in our lifestyles to truly ‘stick’ with us after Lent. The worst might be a crankier than usual person to live around for 40+ days. That is unless, we can integrate something into our routines that connect the physical experience with a spiritual experience – possibly spiritual growth. The only way I know how to attempt this is through meditation and journaling.
There’s that theme of meditation again. Can’t get away from it lately. Anything that involves “doing” and “action” is easy for me. Anything that involves what appears to be “stillness” and “inactivity” make me twitchy, restless, dissatisfied, impatient …. Therefore the Lenten discipline I am taking on this year is meditation.
It’s Day 2. How am I doing? All I can say is that I’m doing something. Nothing to brag about! (notice how I have to use the word ‘do’ again?) Day 1 I lasted 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Day 2 a group of us went to the 6:16am sunrise sequence at the Turrell Skyspace (must see if you live in Houston!). I had to sit there for 40 minutes. I did it, but my mind was racing all over the place, like a chicken with its head cut off.
Tomorrow is Day 3. More to come …