Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lent

So my friend Diane came over today to donate more fabric to the quilt project. We were talking about a lot of things, and the subject of Lent came up. I posted recently that I have gotten over my anger about Ash Wednesday, and that is good. Now I realize that I am angry about Lent.

Before I tell you why, I want to be clear about something.

I do not believe for a moment that our particular suffering makes us holier, better, greater or more precious than any other person on earth. It does not make us special. I believe that suffering does whatever work it does in us, that we allow God to do. I am doing the best that I can to allow God to continually make me into who He made me to be. Some days, I do better than others. I love God, but some days I do not want to look Him in the eye. I belong to Him, and am in love with Him, but some times I just can't quite face Him. I talk, instead of listening. That is fine, until it isn't fine anymore, and then I get quieter, and we communicate differently.

Lent is bothering me this year because it occurs to me that, whatever we might do about it, whatever we might offer up as a sacrifice for Lent, we know that, at the end of the allotted time, we are able to take it up again. It is a symbolic gift to God, something given up for Him, and for our growth in grace. We want to be better people, so we submit to some kind of deprivation in His honor. But whatever it is, unless we want to continue to live without it, we can have it again at the end of Lent. We can rejoice in Easter, and have our gift back.

Our family lives in a kind of perpetual Lent. Katie is gone, and is never coming back, not for her birthday, not for Easter, nor summer vacation, Christmas, my 50th birthday, not for anything. She is given, and she is our reminder that Lent is not simply a symbolic time in the church year; for some, Lent is a way of life. As I've quoted Jackson Browne (Sky Blue & Black) before:

"You're the color of the sky reflected in each storefront windowpane,

You're the whispering and the sighing of my tires in the rain,

You're the hidden cost and the thing that's lost in everything I do,

Yeah, and I'll never stop looking for you

In the sunlight and the shadows and the faces on the avenue.

That's the way love is..."

So I am intentionally NOT giving up anything for Lent, and I may never do so again; I don't know. Maybe I have a bad attitude, and I could give that up for Lent. But this year, I feel as if the greatest sacrifice that I can imagine has already been given, and I can't think of anything else that would matter, if I offered it. Because I feel very much submitted to God through this experience, and I think that God knows that. And I think that my "everything" is enough for Him.
From sweet Carrie Maniscalco's Caringbridge site (if you are able, please pray with her, or stop by and offer a word of encouragement):
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

9 comments:

Busy Bee Suz said...

"whatever we might offer up as a sacrifice for Lent, we know that, at the end of the allotted time, we are able to take it up again"
I think about this also...
You have brought up good points. And YES, you have given up the biggest sacrifice imaginable.
take care....warm hugs to you-Suz

Elizabeth said...

these are provocative thoughts and I'm amazed at your ability to even think and voice them. such a perfect combination of deepness, complexity and authenticity.

Grandma J said...

You live the penance of Lent every day of your life. Your journey as changed for reasons only He knows. I admire your courage and honesty.

Jason, as himself said...

Exactly. I have always had issues with Lent. I have never understood it. I think God watches what we do with each day, all throughout the year, not what silly thing we give up for a few weeks.

Kay said...

I know what you're saying. But I've never practiced Lent. Not something that was ever really stressed in the denominations I've been a part of. And God sees the heart. So just keep seeking. That's what He wants anyway.. us. : )

Jennifer Stumpf said...

you are completely right. love~jennifer

Dreamer girl said...

"But this year, I feel as if the greatest sacrifice that I can imagine has already been given, and I can't think of anything else that would matter, if I offered it".

Very beautiful and said so perfectly. I will take your suggestion on walking. And maybe, my bad attitude should go as well.

You made me smile today.

AnnDeO said...

Karen, I feel you are in my heart and I know you are incredibly strong and intelligent and BRAVE! Your loss of your beautiful Katie and your VOICE in keeping her all in our memory and thoughts is incredibly clear. I know you must be tired and sad and feel like you have nothing left to give, but your words and perspective continue to give and I find I have found a friend through cyberspace, and it feels real.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! the video, wow!! what a gift you are to mothers everywhere, mothers to the living and the dead. Thank you from the depths of my heart for teaching me how to grieve.