Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent's quiet beginning

I am, I am sure, a bit frustrating to be around as Lent begins in the Shelly household. I never really wind up choosing a lenten discipline until the onset of the season. Part of that is due to the fact that I like to avoid having that "so, what are you giving up for Lent" conversation I grew up with in Athen, Ohio. As the rare and unusual cradle Episcopalian in my classes, I had friends who were Roman Catholic, knowing that ECUSA was "close enough" to them asking that question out of solidarity. I had friends who were from the more "protestant" denominations that thought Lent was just, well, funny. People going to the trouble to give up chocolate, or beer, or meat for weeks out of the year just did not make sense, as long as you had Jesus in your heart.

So, trying to settle on, and into, a Lenten discipline is something I find to be rather personal and it takes me a while to figure it out.

For me, it means casting into my life and asking the questions: "What is it that takes my mind and heart away from God?" Or, "What can I set aside that will take me into a more mindful awareness of God, active in my life?"

Usually, the answer works out to some simple things: giving up alcohol and processed sugars (cookies, candies, etc., you know the drill); or, as Laura and I are trying on, giving up red meat. One year, I gave up television. Another year, I took on reading a book a week.

Overall, I find myself being called upon to find time: Time for God, time for myself and time for my family.

That seems to be my Lent this year...being willing to find and accept the time God is giving me to offer up thanks for the people in my life that encourage me to walk with "kingdom eyes." Folks like the Meyers. We had them visit over the weekend, and it was great to see Chris, Diane, Erin and Jonathan. Erin is my god-daughter, and we don't get to see each other too often. Still, their visit was a mini-vacation for Laura and me. A blessing.

We had a great visit, saw the sheep at Cuttalossa, broke bread and Jonathan even lost a tooth.

Life is good. Lent is a blessing.

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