Monday, February 23, 2009

The Countdown to Lent

I can't believe it's only two days until Ash Wednesday. This didn't really hit me until I was doing the T-fig sermon prep last week, and suddenly it was like "Omigosh, how did we get here!" Given that I am preaching the AW service, this was an additionally sobering realization, never mind the fact that it heralds in this whole season that I have given absolutely no thought to as far as observances, Lenten disciplines and such. Last year at this time I pretty much had my Lent mapped out. Had a theme, knew what I was reading...had at least an idea of where I was headed with a plan.

OK, I have to admit, I have been a little distracted lately. And yes, I am feeling a little guilty. I used to be such a serious overfunctioner when it came to my church-life, every minute that was not consumed with my day job(s) was focused on church or something related to it. In retrospect, I know that this, like a lot of the manic busy-ness that consumed me in those days, was a very handy way to avoid looking at some unpleasant truths that I was not, at that time, ready to deal with. But I worry some times that my pendulum might swing too far the other direction. Or maybe I worry that people might think it has. I'm picking up a little disapproval from some quarters, or at least I think that's what I'm sensing at least from one person. I've said no to a couple of things lately on the church front. Nothing big.....opting out of a meeting for a "family event." Talking about the possibility that out of five Easter week events, I may miss one. Again, to gather with some of my in-laws-to-be (and no it's not on Easter Sunday).

Overall, I'm feeling less internally focused, less contemplative. I'm sharing more of what's going on inside of me with another person instead of simply reflecting on it or writing about it. And yes that does feel a little weird and maybe a little unbalanced. I suspect I will find my way back to center over time. I do feel the need of finding some sort of Lenten practice to ground and focus me. And I'm thinking maybe that will help me feel like I'm moving back towards center again. I remember how much I liked some of what happened last Lent in terms of spiritual growth. But I also have to remember that I was in a very different place personally then as well. Life was in no small amount of turmoil and I was in transition in a big way. It's hard to believe how much change a year can bring. How much joy a year can bring, too. It occurs to me that I am pretty good at doing a solid spiritual life in the midst of pain and suffering and even in the midst of change. But I'm not sure I quite know how to do this in joy and serenity. Perhaps that is my challenge. To give up suffering for Lent!?!? Somehow that doesn't seem quite right to this ever-still RC matter how for recovered I like to think I have become.....But clearly there is food here for thought. It's a good thing I still have those two days.


Diane said...

I'm not ready, either.

are you preaching on Ash Wednesday? I have to come up with something,starting tonight. (we have a noon service, so I can't do part of it on Wednesday.)

RevDrKate said...

I am indeed. Ours is not till 7pm but I have that "day job" complication to contend have to keep cracking away as well. *sigh* Keeps us on our toes when there is a midweek thrown in, doesn't it?

mompriest said...

I too am preaching on AE...and, well, I have been very, I guess I have to see if any of my previous AE homilies will work...sigh...

Alas my distractions are not nearly as "fun" as yours...enjoy 'em!

Anonymous said...

Giving up guilt... as pastory types... would be a most excellent Lenten examine. Why are we always guilty? Why is it our responsibility to bear the burden of distraction... more than everyone else in the church? Does our call... somewhere... state that we must be entirely focused on the church (note... I didn't say God)?

Use this season to rejoice... for all of the quiet ways God has... is... and will continue to work in you... and through you. Cause God does... always.

imngrace said...

Oh Kate...maybe you've "suffered" enough and now is the time to look forward to the "blessed spring"

Give yourself a break (I should take my own advice!). God has been good to you and resting in the joy of this gift is a good thing--even with the distraction.

Continued prayers for you both.