Archive for March, 2012

Lenten Countdown: 12

According to my abysmal mathematical skills, it is as of today 12 days until the end of Lent. So what does that mean, particularly if Lent means nothing to you (at least that you know of)?

When folks say “Lent,” they commonly talk about the things they’ve given up. For a fabulous post on why it’s more than that, click here to read from the Washington Post. I ask that you take a moment to read the post and then indulge me as I share with you what I gave up and why I’m writing about it now.

Why?

There are many reasons why folks give up things for Lent. The idea is that we are taking a short period to step away from our usual distractions in order to focus on our walk with Christ; I know that I am reminded at this time about the fact that no hardship I have will even come close to comparing to the walk Christ took for me. However, cutting out a vice or two for 40 days can seem like hell, so that’s part of why I give up something. Thanks to a series of circumstances, I decided to give up two things this year–one that is completely silly and one that is quite serious.

Chocolate

Yep, I gave up chocolate for Lent. Haven’t touched the stuff since Fat Tuesday. Even had a nightmare the other night that I’d bought a bag of M&M’s and as I started munching, was struck with horror since it was still the Lenten season. Corny, yes, I know.

However, when one’s focus is consumed by a desire for something, it might behoove one to step away from it in order to get a better perspective. I was at a point that I had to have chocolate every day. Even if it was just a little nosh, I had to have it. Was I giving that sort of attention to my faith or my family? Hmmm. The chocolate had to go.

I am pleased to say that, other than the nightmare, I’ve had no desire for that treat every day. I even have some chocolate in the house. I must admit however, that I was ever so slightly jealous as I watched my husband eat the dark chocolate-covered cherries, but it’s okay because the chocolatiers will make more. No biggie. And there is still a bag of chocolate-covered cashews in the fridge, should I get the urge 13 days from now.

That’s what makes giving up things like chocolate silly. While it could become a dangerous vice if I suddenly replace all real food with chocolate or if I develop issues with blood sugar, I can pick up and put down chocolate on a whim. It is not, at this point in my life, a game-changer. However, the very act of walking away from it in order to focus on the important things in my life is the reminder I needed. Unless I have an extremely interesting chocolate nightmare in the next 12 days, I shouldn’t need to speak on this one again.

Hate

The second thing I decided to give up was hate. Your eyes do not deceive you–that’s right. I needed to give up hate. Now by this I don’t mean the general sort, like “Dude, I so hate global warming (said with a dramatic eye roll and followed by a sucking of teeth).” I mean the all-consuming sort of hate that leads to terrible things toward another. Nope, not just a random passer-by either. This one was real. For Lent, I had to fast from hatred toward my very own son.

It has been said that powerful ways-of-being often stand in juxtaposition to one another: love/hate, sanity/insanity, faith/lack of, etc.

Due to circumstances too detailed to outline here, suffice it to say that my one and only child had stepped across a line that no child should cross. At least not with me. Or anyone I know. I had reached a point of nearly no return and then it was Lent. How could I focus on my faith walk while carrying a big steaming pile of hate? I had to fast from hate or this thing was not going to work. Like Masterson says in his book, a “layer of comfort” typically covers our “stuff” and quite frankly, hate had become a very comfy blanket over my stuff. To briefly channel Masterson again, I had to get to a point where I could see God’s grace, even in the face of actions I found to be deplorable.

In the course of this part of my Lenten journey, I have found it necessary to separate myself. I seek to hold on until He blesses me, and unfortunately I have been (and AM BEING) dragged through some pretty awful places as I hang on and wrestle with this thing. It is a lonely, unpleasant, dirty journey, as I am sure wrestling through darkness with an angel must have been. And instead of an out-of-socket hip, I hope to come out on the other end with an out-of-socket love. As I mentioned in a Google+ response to a post, I haven’t managed to completely fast hate and instead have made it to general disdain. I pray that by the end of the countdown I will have found my way a bit closer to love.

Monday, March 26th, 2012 Confessions of a Cave Dweller No Comments