Lenten Reflection: Passion Week Edition

13 March 2008

I’ve stopped writing my reflections for a while now, and mostly it was because it was a chore.  Reading and writing about Thoughts in Solitude.   Posting about it went from being an activity to just another form of busy-ness; simply being busy is not what Lent is about.

This realization —the difference between activity and busy-ness— has been central for me lately.  Activity is any thing one does that is focused, mindful, meaningful.  Anything can be activity, even the mundane like empyting a litter box, doing the laundry, cleaning a bathroom, or changing a diaper (all things I need to do soon!).  Benedict urges us to treat everything in the monastery (for us, our homes) as if they were articles for use at the altar.  If we think of it this way, even chores become privileges, even that stinky diaper genie becomes a holy place.

It’s a difficult idea to put into practice, and one I am certainly not good at.  Mindfulness, cherishing all things no matter how seemingly onerous, boring, or pointless, these are truly important.  At the same time, when something lacks or loses its value, once something is no longer productive, we must have the strength and wisdom to abandon it.  Busy-ness is a soul-killer.

I thought about focus when I was working out today.  I was thinking about other things, worrying, and planning as I tried to work out.  Instead of focusing on what I was doing, letting tomorrow have its own worries, I argued with others in my head, thought about the future, and planned.  This can happen any time we are engaged in something important: the unimportant tries to snatch us away.

This seems like something of a somber post, although I didn’t mean it to be.  Lent has gone well thus far, and I feel leaner, better, and happier than I was at the beginning of it.

I’ll try to have a Mini-Reading tonight or tomorrow, although I haven’t been writing much poetry in the last week.  Instead, I’ve been reading Plato.


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