Lenten Thoughts: Tuesday, Fourth Week of Lent

20 March 2007

I just wrote a very nice (I though) reflection, only to lose it all.  Last week, I worked all monring on a syllabus for a Spring Term class, only to lose it all through my mistake.  Not because Word messed up, not because of anything other than my clicking “Don’t Save” accidentally instead of “Save.”

The reflection I lost was all about how the Lent I’ve lived has not been the Lent I planned.  And that, to some extent, is as it should be.

Last Lent, I fasted, I prayed, and generally lived a more spiritually-oriented, God-centered life.  It was easy.  I grew, sure, but it wasn’t that hard.  Plus, I was still in that honeymoon phase of conversion; although it was the fruit of a few years of growth and searching, I was pretty happy with my religious and spiritual life: I’d found a church I liked (MyChurch), I’d found practices I liked, and I had even found like-minded people my own age (the Reconciler folks fall into this camp).

Last fall, things did not go that well for me, especially within the context of my religious life, and church-y things have been hard since.  Now, this Lent, I decided to do essentially the same as I did last year: more fasting, more praying, and, almost as an afterthought, resolved to improve my communication with others, especially within my family, and be kinder to myself.

Well, things went well for a few weeks, and then they didn’t.  Once they didn’t, I began focusing more on the latter two resolutions, which are, after all, the places of real growth for me.  Praying and fasting, I can do those things.  Hell, I actually enjoy those things.

Sometimes God is not where we think we will find him.  Sometimes God is not calling us to what we think he calls us.  Lent is not always what we plan; sometimes Lent is what happens to us while we’re embracing a discipline, maybe even the wrong discipline, when we are doing one thing, but God calls us to something else.

And in the face of all this, I think I may just be learning humility.  I may be getting better at it.  Although I do feel more humble, my vainglory and pride of the last few months have taught me I have a long way to go.

Thanks be to God.

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