Saturday, February 28, 2015

True Story

So I'm renaming my kids. I mean, not legally. Just here. 

The thing is, you're not really supposed to give your kids' real names on a blog. They need, like, a secret identity. (It lets them deny they know you if it ever comes up in middle school.)

In the interests of simplifying today's post, we'll just call them A (son) and C (daughter). 

So yesterday morning, A and C are at the table eating breakfast. C says she could eat more cereal than she has, and I explain serving sizes for the 800th time this week. She says, "Hmmph," and I joke that if she loved broccoli, I'd give her as much as she wanted. 

She sees I'm being ridiculous, so she turns to her brother for support. 

C (in her smarty-pants voice): If you eat too much broccoli, you'll turn into a vegetarian. Right, A?
A (not wanting to get involved): I think so.
C (seriously now): Are vegetarians even real? I mean like really real? Not on TV. 
A (in his guru voice): Of course! . . . Some dinosaurs were vegetarians. 

True story.

So if any of our vegetarian friends want to come for dinner soon, that would be great. My kids are surrounded by carnivores. 

Now, since it's Saturday night and you'll maybe get a sermon at church tomorrow, and since I'm still cooling my jets after seeing A & C's idea of cleaning a room tonight. . . 

that's the end. Let's just pretend there's a really deep, hidden meaning to this post, ok? 

I'll be back Monday with your regularly scheduled point. And in the meantime, 

I hope you rest like a kitten on the Sabbath. 
I hope it's this fun: 
I hope you feel loved,
and I hope you don't turn into a vegetarian. (Just kidding! Love you guys.)

See you Monday, 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Beautiful Again

For Valentine's Day, the Preacher bought Princess and me incredible roses. One rose for Princess, seven for me. They were beautiful.
One fell off and bumped its head. Now there are six.
After almost two weeks, of course, they're dying. They're still beautiful. But I do wish they'd last.

(Remind me to tell you about the time years ago I got upset when the Preacher stopped buying me flowers. Turned out he thought I killed them. So we talked about the difference between potted plants and cut flowers, and he started buying flowers again. The end.)
Today I noticed Chloe's purple rose had turned brown, and I was upset; I'd meant to dry it to put in our wreath. I'll just admit, that rotten rose made this tough day a little tougher. 

And guys, I don't mean to fuss about hard days all the time. There's good in every day, and there was good in this one. It's just been one of those weeks, y'know? My brave face fell off and shattered this afternoon.

We're waiting for our Easter, if you know what I mean.

Tonight before I put Princess's rose in the trash, I peeked inside the rotten petals and looked at for bud. Now, I've always loved rosebuds. I guess they make me feel like something good is coming: A rosebud means a bloom is on the way, right? 

And I found this: 
Do you know what that is? It's a bud. A beautiful, pastel pink bud.

The fact is, that bud's never going to bloom. The rose is dead-dead-deadsky. (Name that movie.) 

(Sorry about that. But oops! Not deleting it. You know you giggled.)

No, I won't hold my breath for this thing to bloom. That would be foolish. It's too late.
Sad, right?
But with that sweet pink bud hidden in the middle, you know what? It's not all dead. It's just mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. (Name that movie.)

The difference is, it can live on in our wreath. 
And it can be beautiful again.

(C'mon, Easter!) 

Waiting, and not (just) for chocolate, 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Half an Hour

Have you heard of "Me" time? I remember when I first heard about it. 

Those were the days, man. The days I was exhausted. I was new to the world of two kids, with a newborn and a three-year-old. And it's like this: 

The newborn phase and the preschooler phase are precious. Seriously. Newborns and preschoolers are like peanut butter and pizza. Really great stuff. Just maybe not so much at the same time, if you know what I mean.  
Princess, 5 months, and Little Man, who'd just turned 4
It was precious. It was tough. 

So "Me" time? It resonated. It rang like Quasimodo's bell tower, and I was all, "Girl power!" or whatever.

Through the years, I've daydreamed about taking a vacation by myself. I've had visions of shopping for clothes without hunting for kids in the racks. Of eating at restaurants that didn't serve chicken strips. Of leaving half a candy bar out in the open, and finding it intact when I came back. (Those are the things you daydream about, too, right?)

Then I went to Lynchburg for a class. I stayed at a fancy hotel, took bubble baths in silence, watched as much TLC as I could stand, and kept the refrigerator stocked with whatever I wanted. It was like college, only with a jacuzzi. I had plenty of time to myself.

But can I tell you a secret? Mostly, I didn't feel relaxed. Mostly, what I felt was. . . a little bored. And (this part's trite but true) I missed my family.

Fast forward two years, and I was in Lynchburg again for more classes -- two weeks in a row this time. Instead of a fancy hotel, I stayed at a little cabin called Chestnut Cottage. The hosts were warm, the cabin was cozy, and it even snowed while I was there. But there I was, a snowy cabin all to myself, good coffee and Veronica Mars on tap - and I wanted to go home.

So what's the deal? 

I guess in the end, the deal is the whole "time" thing - specifically, how much time. I don't need a week or two without the responsibilities of home and family. What I need is time to regroup, time to think, and time to process. I need time when nobody's asking me any questions and nobody's needing me for anything. 

And I can do that, even at home. In fact, I'm doing it now. 

The Preacher came home an hour ago and invited me to lunch on campus with him. The introvert in me has trouble with spontaneous outings, and I said maybe next time. (He gets me.) So he invited the kids. (See how he gets me?) And I've had half an hour of silence and peace to do whatever.

They'll be back soon. It won't be a week of quiet.

But half an hour to drink hot coffee and read and write in peace is just what I needed today. That whole "resonating" thing is happening right here in my living room. 

And you know, a vacation used to take a week,
but this "Me" time - 
half an hour of peace and silence and putting a kibosh on a stressful week with the running and the worry - 
is enough. It's enough for me, at least. 

(Thanks, Preacher.)

In Retreat, 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Throwing Clay

Y'know how they say, "You win some, you lose some?" Well, today was a lose-some kind of day, guys.  

Twice I had to pull into traffic at the last minute because my lane suddenly closed. Twice. With no warning. (Seriously!) If you've ever driven through Lexington, you know what a nightmare that was. 
Not really Lexington - Photo credit
On top of that, I'm exhausted. For the last week I've been up too late trying to rein in my scatterbrain and write something coherent. But no matter what I do with this clay, it never shapes up exactly the way I'd planned. (That's perfectionism talking; Lent's trying to kill it.)

And writing isn't as easy as I remember. If it were, this wouldn't be much of a 40-day thing to do, right? Lent isn't about easy. It's about stretching ourselves and doing something hard. All you good people fasting meat or chocolate or sugar for 40 days are feeling the pinch, too. Especially now:
Sorry, guys. Photo credit
But we push ourselves because good habits don't form overnight. (Bad ones, though. . . mercy.) 
Good habits take work, and lots of it. 

For Lent, my work is writing. But it's not about attracting readers. (No offense! Please don't go.)
It's not about being an inspiration, thank God. (You know how I feel about that.) And it's not about taking the place of your devotionals, Hallmark movies, or prayer life.

This is about naming what's good in my days. And oh, do I ever need that because this season (every season) has its struggles. But then it has its gifts, too, and I know they won't last forever, and I'm desperate to notice them now

I'm so busy focusing on what's wrong that if I'm not careful, I don't see see what's right. I do this to myself, to my kids, to my whole life, and nobody gets any grace because we're all just a project in the works. And in the meantime, all these gifts surround me and all these moments are running out, and one day I'll look back and say, "Where did the time go? Where are my babies?" 

I can't stop time, and I won't stop their growing, but I can stop myself. I can notice the things I'll miss when they're gone, and I can live the moments I'll wish I had back. And I will have them back, because they'll be memories of the times I paid attention.
I just don't want to miss out because I'm too tired and busy and worried to pay attention.

I don't want to miss this time with the Preacher, or my opportunities at work, or the warmth of our townhouse with geothermal heat. 

I don't want to miss my life, guys. 

And if this is what it takes to remember that, then. . . well, then I'll spend my evenings reworking this clay until it's good. Not perfect, but good. 

(Or at least good enough.)

Getting messy hands, 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Little Courage

Dear Princess:

Today was our first visit to a new dentist. When the hygienist came to get you, I asked her if I should come, too. (Your brother was still in the waiting room.) She said I could, but laughed: "Looks like she's ok on her own." And I just watched your back as you marched away. You had no idea where you were going, but you were determined to get there yourself. 
When the appointment was over, the hygienist said your teeth looked perfect, and she gushed about what a good patient you were. But I wasn't surprised; you're all business at the doctor.

Over the years, I've seen you get two shots at a time and barely flinch. I've watched as your eyes turned steel gray, and you set your jaw and refused to cry. I don't know where you got that strength from, but I do know you were born with it.
And somehow you've managed to be steel, but not to be hard. You've sniffled over St. Jude's ads, and you've wept over that terrible SPCA commercial (the one I try to ignore). Last year, I held you when you cried, realizing your own kitten was dying. And I tried to answer your questions, but the truth is, baby -- having an answer doesn't heal our pain. 

But then, having pain doesn't mean we won't ever find joy again, does it? (Hello, Lent.) 

Here you are, five years old and already learning that. We talk about things that don't last forever and things that do, and you get it in the matter-of-fact way you get multiplication. You believe it's true because I say it is. And because this phase won't last forever, I need to say this now:

I know you're brave. You're brave and strong in ways that I certainly am not. I fight with worry, and I fear I don't know how to raise a brave girl. I fear you'll pick up my worry and weakness instead. 

So you make me want to be brave, just in case. 

The truth is, I'm more stubborn than brave most days. But you're both. The day you were born, you released a cry I thought was impossible for newborns. (I guess you weren't ready to leave your warm home yet.) For months after that, you scowled at the world -- all those presumptuous strangers who want baby girls to grin at them. 
And I worried you'd always greet the world with a glare. But in time you smiled at someone at church, and you proved my worry wrong again.

Today, you smile and show those little white teeth, and you're curious and precocious and very independent. In some ways, you're who you've always been. But then you're growing into who you are, too, like an oak bursting from an acorn. 
When you asked to be baptized a few months ago, I worried for a moment that you were too little. But you were determined, and you climbed onto the platform and spoke your part clearly, and my fear evaporated. You gave me strength somehow, and I realized maybe I can raise a brave daughter, after all. 

I can do it because you'll show me how. 

Thankful for you, 

The Coat

Tonight, we attended a Service of Resurrection. If you think you've never attended one, I'll bet you have; people usually call it a funeral. 
Photo credit
Now, before we get too far here, I need to confess something. Are you ready to give me grace? Here it is: I hardly ever wear skirts or dresses anymore, even to church. I blame this development on one thing: all the years I dressed like an octogenarian before I was even 20. For the time being, I guess I've just grown out of leggings and tights (but not literally!).

So tonight, I spent forever trying to figure out what to wear to the funeral. The service was for an 18-year-old girl from our church, a senior killed in a car accident two weeks ago. So many people were expected at the ceremony that they held it in the high school gym. And it was a packed house. 

In my closet, I scrounged through the odd selection of items I've collected since I stopped working: clothes I wore to work five years ago, clothes I've grown out of, clothes I've shrunk out of, and (the vast majority) clothes that are NOT appropriate outside the front door (or possibly even inside). Holes, stains, spots. . . use your imagination. After a prolonged search, I ended up choosing a black dress I found hiding in the back of the closet. When Chloe saw me in it, she said, "Wow, Mommy. You look fancy!" And I guess compared to the usual Sunday morning jeans, I did.

But the truth is, I was bone cold and a little out of place all evening. As it turns out, wearing a little black dress isn't a good idea in February, and it was six degrees outside. My blood froze, and I wore my black wool coat like a second skin. It stayed there all night. Dress-schmess.

Of course, funerals are about remembering the person who's passed and not really about wardrobe. (This isn't going to stay shallow, guys.) But the other side of the coin is that unfortunately, I never got to know the girl whose life we celebrated tonight. I was at the funeral for the grieving kids, the ones whose Sunday school class we teach. I just wanted to be available. But the fact is we're still getting to know each other, and it's a little early for the whole pour-your-heart-out thing. 

In short, I was an awkward, wool-wrapped ice cube tonight. All those attempts at preparation, and I still ended up snuggled in my coat.

At the end of the service, Pastor asked us to prepare our hearts for what was coming next. As we sat in silence, I could hear people sniffling, and I'd just started to wonder how to prepare when he closed with this: 

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant ___. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

We heard those words prayed over this child's life, and I swear you could hear hearts snapping like branches. I didn't even know her, but my heart cracked a little, too. It was the word "prepare" that got me. "Prepare your hearts for this moment," he'd said, and we'd bowed our heads like children. But how could we prepare? 
Photo credit
The very thought of being prepared for a moment like that -- for letting go -- is unthinkable. I don't know how you do that. I still have dreams where I'm talking to my Nenaw, and I'm crying before I'm even fully awake. I don't know how to prepare for those moments. 

What I do know is that I held my rambunctious Princess tighter after those words. I tried to put myself in the shoes of that grieving mama -- same as all the other mamas did -- and I hugged my blonde little girl. I worried her hair until she brushed me off, clutched her hand on the way to take communion. And I realized I will in no way ever be prepared for the moment Pastor described. 

But then maybe that's the thing. We can't prepare. We can love Jesus and worship and pray and fast - but we'll still be those ancient disciples who kept staring at the clouds, waiting for Jesus to turn right around and come back.

As I watched that mama tonight, grieving with her own head bowed, I knew this: We will not ever be ready. No heart is ready for letting go. But even when we're not, when our limbs are ice and our blood is cold and the frost has sunk into our bones, we can be covered. We'll come to Jesus in our shabby digs, feeling winter in our summer clothes, and He will not be surprised. He'll cover us with His wool coat, and He'll become our second skin, and He will thaw our icy hearts so we can heal. 

He is, you see, prepared. 

And that's more than enough.

Thawing out, 

Sunday, February 22, 2015


To tell you the truth, I'm not much of a blog reader anymore. (Yes, I know what "ironic" means. And I'm ok with that.)

When I decided to stay home with my kids, I started reading mom blogs like tweens study Seventeen. Sure, I wanted to prepare myself for this full-time mom gig, but mainly I wanted to know I wasn't alone. I needed reassurance that I was doing the "right thing," and I searched for writers who said I was. 
Baby Princess
Bloggers are experts, right? They know when I'm right. 

But it didn't take long for that to change. Soon I came across successful, eloquent Christian writers who were different than the "do-what-you-want" bloggers I'd been reading. The other ladies said staying home with the kids was a good thing to do. But these new writers argued it was the only thing a Christian mom should ever do. 

Naturally, I was shocked. I said, "Whaaa?!" and then my stubbornness kicked in. I kept reading their blogs just to argue how wrong they were (with the Preacher, of course). This kept up until I realized what they were doing, and I stopped cold:

They weren't just drawing readers who agreed with them (who happened to be in no short supply). They were also baiting people like me. How? By creating controversy.  

Later, some of those bloggers wrote books for huge publishing companies --  really famous books, mind you, on bestseller lists and whatnot. And can you guess what happened? You're right, smarty pants: They stepped away from that controversial platform. It was never heard from again. But. . . where did their convictions go? 
Photo cred
I don't know about that. But I do know that just like in middle school, some people know how to draw a crowd: Pick a fight. Go out to your little sandbox, scratch a line down the middle, and dare people to cross it. Pretend to pity those who don't agree with you. And make those who do, feel like kings. (Or queens, as it were.)

Forget that it's obnoxious -- not to mention wrong --  to pretend your position makes you superior. You've created a following, and that's what matters. Right? 

The thing is, I didn't stop reading those bloggers mainly because I disagreed with their convictions. I'm ok with differences, and I love my all my friends, even the ones who disagree with me. And yes, even the ones who are wrong. (Ha! Did you catch what I did there?) 

No, it wasn't that I'm against different convictions. I'm just against convictions that do the wrong thing for us all. 

If my convictions
insinuate I've got more points with God than you,
make me feel better about myself in comparison to you,
give me excuses for avoiding "people like you," and 
become a point of pride instead of a miracle of grace. . .
then I'm doing them wrong.

And that's why I don't read those blogs anymore. If that's the way they attract a crowd, I'm out. I'm not getting in that sandbox, guys. (It's probably the yucky kind with no lid, anyway.) 

In the end, convictions aren't about comparison, superiority, or points at all. I can do that mess all on my own! They're about about humbling myself, releasing perfectionism, and letting grace bear the fruit stubbornness never could. 

A lot like writing for Lent, I guess. 
(Maybe I should just fast next year.)

Playing on the swings instead,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Not Sorry

Tomorrow is Sunday. Well, today's probably Sunday for you. (You're living in the future. Isn't that neat?) 

After nearly a week of being snowed in, we're headed to church in the morning. Sunday's a day of rest and everything, but it's more like a half day after a morning of wrangling and hustling and scrubbing two kids. But we're headed out nonetheless. Into this: 
Photo cred
Ok, just kidding. This is Kentucky, guys. We got about a foot of snow last Monday, and our sweet meteorologist kept saying, "I'm not trying to scare you. Please don't panic." And we got plenty of snow, and I was thrilled! 

But this is the South. We literally have one snow plow in our little town, so you can imagine how stuck we were. I'm thinking maybe next time I'll do a shorter snow dance. Or maybe only wear my pajama pants backwards. Or maybe not. 

I do love snow.

Anyway, our roads are really more like this: 
Photo cred
And I'm only hyperventilating a little bit over the idea of crashing into the ground and breaking myself again. (I don't miss the pain meds, for real. You know how people are either totally normal or spaced out, half-asleep zombies when they take those things? Guess which one I am.)

Anyway, I definitely need that whole peace thing tomorrow. And I hope it's an easy walk to the church doors. Those dang ramps. . . *grumble*

If you happen to be snowed in tomorrow, enjoy your Sabbath at home in pajamas. I'm not currently forced by winter to be a hermit (*sniff*), so mine will be at church in boots and jeans. After all, jeans are more restful than skirts but not as inappropriate as pajama pants. 

And that's the moral of the story.

Sorry about that, 

Permanent Record

A couple years ago, one of my favorite food bloggers suddenly stopped writing. I showed up to her game a little late and started reading from the beginning; that's how favorite she was. As I got to her more recent posts, she shared a pregnancy announcement and later, photos of her growing baby bump.

After her giddy, exhausted 40-week picture, her posts dropped off. I thought maybe she'd had a newborn phase like mine: brain-dead, zombie-like, and blissfully detached. But I'm a freak who has to know everything about anything that interests me, so I Googled her. And oh, my heart. Her cravings. Her long pregnancy. Her first delivery. 

Her stillborn daughter.

And of course, her empty blog. 

I couldn't understand her experience. We never fully know someone else's pain. 

But I did understand why she'd stopped:
Nothing smothers creativity like grief

I know that because I've been through suffocating grief. I've been surprised by false friends, so I've learned to be more discerning. But I secretly fear it's made me cynical, and I know I'm hard to reach. I used to say I'm an introvert and not a snob, but now I'm starting to wonder. But that's not really the point.

The point is I've been afraid of this, afraid of writing because it slices me open and I can't seem to stop the bleeding. And it makes me admit, finally, that my life is not an inspirational novel. I don't always get it right, and half the time I don't know what in the world I'm doing. 

(How's that for an inspirational Lent thought?) 

But then it's not all bad. Trust me; that's the voice of experience talking.

Some people think faith or leadership or parenthood means we have to have it all together. So we retouch our lives and hope no one sees we're skin and bone like regular folks. This, we think, is the image of God transforming our lives into walking sermons. 

But the truth is this: The perfect Christian is a sight to behold, but impossible to reach. And what is relationship without touch? (Immanuel teaches this simple lesson.)

And I wonder how Scripture would read if God edited our heroes the way we edit ourselves. 
David without Bathsheba, or Solomon, or Absalom. 
Moses, never a shepherd. 
Jonah, marching straight to Ninevah, Esther without self-doubt. 
Not to mention Paul and Peter and Abraham and Joseph. Their stories, unretouched, aren't that tidy. They don't meet our standards for neatness. How strange that they seem to meet God's

And it makes me wonder: If our lives read like inspirational novels, is it because we've erased the rest of our story? 

I do hope not; turns out it's all important.

Writing with Sharpie, 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Little Busyness Meeting . . . with Myself

So we have been ~~

just a little ~~

snowed in ~~

this week.

Like all week. As it happens, today's the one-year anniversary of breaking my wrist and getting pins and plates inserted into my arm, and the memory of all those narcotics and side effects and not being able to drive and physical therapy and still with the stiffness. I adore snow, but I'm a little afraid of it. It's like petting a cat; I'm never sure if it's gonna be purr-happy or purr-maim.

Either way, I'm not complaining.

But here we are, stuck inside our little place because I'm not going to fall again, and I'm not getting to know any neighbors while frostbite's out there waiting to eat my limbs.  (Sorry about that. One too many zombie commercials.)

In other words, I'm stubborn. I'm staying inside. If you need me, just knock. I'll be here.

Right now, we live in a community with other seminary families. The Preacher is halfway through his M.Div., and we're here with all these smarties working on their higher ed and using theological words I can't understand without an interpreter. I'm not down on myself. But talking to these folks about their field is like listening to whale song. I know they're communicating, and I think it sounds really nice. I just can't make sense of it.

So here we are with all these couples training for the ministry and kids running around outside, and we have this huge community house behind our place. And everybody goes there when it's cold, and they play games and study Scripture like it's summer camp in February, and of course it's a neat idea. *halo glows* It's fun. It's a busy place with lots of activities.

Only I don't really go because groups aren't my thing, and for me already church is plenty of community and getting-to-know-you and figuring out who's who and what's up. I can seriously do one new social thing at a time. I'm busy right now. (#StuffIntrovertsSay)

Last spring after my wrist healed a little and I could drive, I went through this supermom busy phase. Or superbusy mom phase. Both. Aidan was taking piano and playing soccer, and Chloe was taking dance classes, and both the kids were in homeschool co-op, and I was doing all the running. This with homeschool and testing season and the Preacher gone at least 60 hours a week at work, and I have to say I was proud of myself.

But I should've known better. I should've known myself better. One week I had something scheduled every day, and the idea was exciting. But then the week started, and I froze like Olaf. Like the street in front of my house. Like my toes with no socks. (Sorry again.)

But you've been there, right? You're busy and scheduled, and then you get sick or the kids get sick or the car gets a flat tire or you realize your license is expiring, and it's that one little bird that blows up your jet engine, and you sail toward the ground. That happened, and I had to cancel cancel cancel, all because for some reason I had to be busy. 

I still remember the afternoon I canceled Aidan's piano lesson because my blood sugar bottomed out (because my body is smarter than I am).  I expected him to be upset, but he was excited. He ran back to the tree he'd been climbing, and Chloe went back to playing in the rocks, and I sat outside and talked to our neighbor. And I finally took a breath.

I'd been drowning all along, and I hadn't even noticed.

So here we are in this place where people are prepping for ministry, and they're leaders, and the kids are P.K.'s in the making, bless their little hearts. (For the Yankees in the room, "Bless their little hearts" is Southern for, "Lord help those sweet little rascals.") And I've noticed something around here, and you've probably noticed it in your neighborhood, too; it's not just good-hearted theologians who get tangled up in busy.

It's not a judgment. Mostly, it can't be helped. If you're like me, you don't think twice about signing up and scheduling things and filling every season from Lent to Christmas with motion. It's a busy world, and we have a lot to do, and that's that. So then what's the big deal, right? Maybe nothing except. . . well, except this: 

When I find myself busy from dawn 'til dusk (or dawn 'til midnight), I take space to wonder why. What's making me so busy? Is it necessary, and is it adding to my joy? Is it something my children need and want, or is it my dreams they're living out? Is it just filling the slots in my calendar so I don't have down time, so I don't have to ask ~

What would happen if I weren't so busy?

What would happen if I had a minute to sit and think? Would something in my life fall apart? Would my church fall apart? Would my kids fall apart? Would I fall apart?

Lent is a season of sacrifice, a time to slow down and consider our humanity. To prepare for Good Friday and the Resurrection as we prepared for the Nativity. And friends, we were made for work, so busy just happens. But just the same we were made for rest, and we were made for God's pleasure -- and we need room for all those pieces.

I need room for all those pieces,
especially on snow days when I'm cooped up with the people who see me at my worst,
when the busy makes me crazy -- 
and who give me grace anyway.

They calm the storm of busyness, and grace handles what work never could.

Making room,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Not So SiLent

Lent is here again, but you already knew that. All the girls at work are resisting the chocolates on their desks. Your husband's fasting meat, but you're not sure what in the name of St. Francis he'll eat without it. And until today you were scratching your head, wondering what you could fast that wouldn't be *too* impossible for 40 days; this is a sacrifice of love, not the 11th commandment.

~ See the grace of God there? We don't have to give up chocolate to get to heaven. ~

The sad truth is, the list of things I can't give up for 40 days is long. Sugar because this. Coffee because Electronics because family's far away. So many non-options. And then there was that crazy second, lost in thought about hermits in Ivanhoe, when I considered being quiet for 40 days. Yes, I laughed at myself like you're laughing now.

My kids would love that.

Finally, it came to me that maybe Lent doesn't have to be a list of what not to do (er, at least for Anglicans). Maybe it can just be a simple, quiet something to do. Something to build, slowly.
Photo cred
So I'm writing. But not as a ploy for readers, and not as an appeasement for guilt. Just as expression, the sacrifice of time for something that's become hard.

The thing is, I'm uninspired. I have no plan, no end game, and honestly no clue. There's no blueprint. I hope writing just does its work -- pouring out things that need to be said, maybe putting an end to the mute button. Maybe I'll tell a hard story. Or maybe I'll be too scared. Maybe I'll just have a day and call it good.

This is, I know, a ridiculously small thing. But it's my small thing: six weeks of writing, more or less, with lots of grace for myself and no publicity. Because in the end it's not about attracting others or impressing myself; it's about taking time away. This is my retreat.

"Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God." -- Thomas a Kempis

(We'll see if it turns out to be suffering.)

Chapter 2,
Becki ~