Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Maybe two days of quiet is about all anyone can expect these days. For two days, we meandered around the house, did some chores, sat in front of the fire, did a little office work. And shoveled. We shoveled a lot of snow over the past two days and all four of us got into the act at one time or another.

But then, today came with sunshine and blue skies and a long to-do list. I needed to make bread for church; we always have church preparations to do on Saturdays — and laundry. And since the oven was on anyway, I made some brownies for the guys (okay, so maybe I’ll have one. But only one!!).

But then we left the house by 2:30 to attend a poetry reading with friends. A great gathering and the poems were really interesting, but with visiting and conversations and time passing by, we didn’t get home until 6 pm.

Where’s the dream of going slow through Lent?

But maybe the “dream” has more to do with observance and being present than just slowness. We were present for our friends. We were present to the experiences we heard through the poems. Our hearts were touched by the words.

I wonder if, when we make a promise for Lent — a promise like slowing down, we hold on the idea so tight and hold on to discipline so tight that when the “promise” is bent in some way we think we’ve failed and so put aside any Lenten practice because, well, we couldn’t do it anyway.

It might be more effective to quiet the doubt of our promises and see our practice as wider rather than questioning our ability to stay the course. If you are tempted to doubt the final outcome of your practice, quiet that doubt as well.

It’s only practice. And it’s okay.

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