Lenten Thoughts: Monday, Third Week of Lent, ’07 (A Stealth Installment of the Wingèd Man’s Faith Journey)

12 March 2007

Today is a busy day, and I was tempted to not post at all or  post simply that I wasn’t going to post, that I wasn’t able to post.

It’s been a big week in our household: in the last week, we’ve discussed the ins-and-outs of home-buying with my parents, found out what kind of help —tangible and intangible— they’d be able to give us, decided to stay in our current apartment for a year, I had both food poisoning parent-teacher conferences for my high-schoolers, and  these are just the things I can ‘blog about.

It’s been a big few months, too: we’ve tried more concertedly to consume less —where we can— to spend less, and to be generally more “intentional” about our lives.  I also made the decision to move from the Lutherans to the Episcopalians, a move which makes me feel much more ecclesially at home as if I have more of a stake in the church.

This is my first Lent where keeping my disciplines has been truly difficult.  Although I fasted the six days I had originally planned —Ash Wednesday, that Friday, and the following two Wednesdays and two Fridays—, I did not fast last week, since I “fasted” while I was sick at the beginning of the week.  I didn’t feel totally well until Thursday, so I think I can be excused.

While keeping up prayer has been difficult due to the Little Guy’s sleep troubles (I find it hard to get up early enough to pray if the Little Guy gets up at night), I am also eating more than I wished.  At the same time, some other personal and family concerns are working themselves out.

The irony is that these these very issues that are working themselves our were part of my Lenten disciplines, too, it’s just that I didn’t tell anyone.  I had resolved to work on my communication with others, trying to be more honest, clear, and loving.  While my “traditionalist” disciplines are taking a real hit this year, my non-traditional resolutions are going well, althought they are not all sunshine and daffodils.

With my abandoned lectio, my food-related illness and subsequent challenges with food-related disciplines, and my difficulties regarding my prayer rhythms, it’s as if God is saying from my own personal Burning Bush, “Moron!  This is not what I’m calling you to!  You read a lot!  You are gastronomically disciplined!  You pray!  Focus on your brokenness, you vainglorious, archaeo-traditionalist-cum-modern-liberal-cum-anarcho-collectivist chump!”  All this should be understood in a “Wingèd Man” type context (i.e., a loving yet teasing voice (James Earl Jones, John Cusack, or Susan Sarandon come to mind; go ahead, imagine the quote in their voices; it’s pretty funny) issuing from my non-functioning hard drive that spins but will not boot-up).

As anyone who has tried to rectify bad habits and patterns knows, fixing them can be uncomfotable and painful, with things that have laid buried coming to light.  Yet this is what Lent is all about.  Not about humiliation or embarassment to make ourselves feel better, but about a certain amount of personal honesty that allows us to be who we are and to make our relationships whole again.

In this way, Lent has been a comfort to me this year; not in the vainglorious way that I had planned, with my self-satisfying fasts and offices, but because things are truly getting better.  I’m still sleep deprived and emotionally tender, but I stand in a better place for healing and wholeness than I did before.

This is my first truly complicated Lent, and I thank God for it.


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