Serious Blog Hiatus. I partly blame Mardi Gras, and I partly blame life for just picking me up and sweeping me away into its winds. As Spring brings its icky pollen to ignite my allergies as well as delightful warm weather and sunshine, I feel a new dawn rising up inside of me.
My roommates and I have done been doing some serious Spring Cleaning in our apartment: vacuuming/mopping with 7 different types of Swiffer products, cleaning out drawers overflowing with unworn clothes and crumpled receipts and Ew was that a french fry at one point? I am having a lot of "A ha!" moments. My other earring that I thought was gone forever! 17 Teeth Whitening Strips I don't remember buying! The Swiffer Vacuum charger that my desk apparently ate! We can finally clean with it! And then there are all those poor lonely socks desperately missing their companions under the darkness and dustiness of my bed. It's a tiring, ongoing process, but it feels amazing. As the last debris of Mardi Gras is swept off the streets, and the reflective Season of Lent is upon us I feel it is time for official spring cleaning of my soul. Putting on my mask, dawning my rubber gloves, and going in...
It is the practice of Lent to give up something. I have thought long and hard about what I should do. I could give up staring at Facebook for hours, eating chocolate, fast food, meat, etc. All of these are generally unhealthy practices when done in excess, and I could definitely benefit from taking a break from them. BUT, simply giving up one of these does not seem to wire my heart and mind to truly understand Lent. Kathy, our wonderful site coordinator, asked us as a group of YAVs to take up a Lenten discipline in which every time we have negative thoughts about someone else to write it on a piece of paper and put it away. I like this idea of adopting a practice/discipline in order to delve into God's will for us.
Through journaling and reflecting these past few weeks, I have been finding quite a few lost socks under the bed, so to speak. As the painful feelings I have towards myself, others, and my community arise within me, I write them down, I look at them, and then I let them go. It's difficult to put these thoughts away because I want so badly to cling to my pride, to put up my shield and protect myself. It is so easy and fun to gossip, to stand on our pedestals and laugh at others when they are vulnerable, to proclaim that we are right and everyone else must meet us where we are. It may be a two way street, but if we look around we see that many of us are standing on our separate corners refusing to budge. God asks us to put down our weapons, to put down our shields, and to put down our pride. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this word, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2.
It is is becoming evident to me that if we don't clean out our hearts and minds in the same way we clean out our closets and bedrooms, a lot of mess begins to pile up inside of us. The clutter puts a film over our eyes and keeps us from seeing ourselves and others the way God sees us. We get caught up in the tangles of life, and one day we wake up and realize something is missing. We need both socks to make a complete pair, both earrings, both shoes. In taking this journey with Jesus through the Lenten season, we are cleaning out all the negative clutter under our hearts to find the missing components of ourselves that keep us from fully living out God's will.
"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. "
Continue to keep the people of Japan in your prayers. You can donate money to the relief fund Here. And also, for all the people of the world suffering from physical wars and the wars within their own hearts, my prayers and love go out to you.
Comment and tell me how the Season of Lent is affecting you. I would love to continue this conversation. After all, as Presbyterians, we are all about our conversations. :)