I have always valued Lent as a season of holy disruption. A spiritual rallying point. A time to detach from habits that mire us in drudgery and reconnect with the practices that give us life. (click here for a video I made about this approach)
But this year, what does a Lenten season embracing disruption look like when we are just plain tired of disruption? For a world reeling from a terrible war in eastern Europe (click here for a video I shared for those of us struggling to know how to pray for Ukraine), on top of everything else, perhaps all we want is something “normal,” mundane, ANYTHING approximating familiarity. How do we welcome the holy disruptions of Lent when so many of us can no longer tolerate disruption?
We need (re)anchoring mechanisms. Unanchored from my favorite routines, I notice I can fall into my headspace so much that I can forget to eat, or stand up, or remember to feel the sun, and the disembodied-ness of Zoom meetings (while wise to engage during a pandemic), can still take a toll. Together, we need to find ways to adapt to every changing terrain while still feeding what was lost. It is in this holy tension where I find holy opportunity this Lent.
Try this: If you were to make a list of regular lifegiving things/thoughts/movements/reflections/activities/practices/disengagements/whatever you would LOVE to have on a regular basis, what would that be? What kinds of activities rekindle creativity, imagination, and joy (or what activities need to STOP in order to rekindle your creativity, imagination, and joy?) Do they involve your heart, mind, body? Do they involve your family sphere, work-life, tending your restless inner self? Do they exercise body muscle, brainpower, and heart space? What are (safe) practices that can help remind us to connect with communal and full embodied selves? Committing to a shortlist of “undisruptables” that you can keep on your fluid calendar, regardless of anything else, could weave a sacred rhythm into a rhythmless world, connecting us to long sequestered parts of ourselves we have locked away to the detriment of our truest selves and those who most enjoy our truest selves.
Here are some practices I am personally committing to in different spheres I am active in right now (in addition to the familiar obligations that come with being a presbytery leader):
Tending Working Community:
- Prioritize extra time to check in with our staff, as we coordinate from home, road, and office
- Share weekly written communication with the presbytery community (“hello!”)
Tending Working Self:
- Read a chapter to learn a day (please let me know what you are reading! Right now, I am reading “Finance for the People” by Paco de Leon)
- Make at least one new relationship a day outside of committee spaces
Tending Inner Self
- Set aside one day of personal Sabbath for the gift of unscheduled time and spontaneous activity (usually Mondays for me)
- Do at least 15 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise (uh, walking is fine for me right now—I think I’ll wait a bit before going back to even a masked-up gym)
Tending Home Sphere
- Save one day specifically devoted to family time
- Have Adventure Dates! try a new restaurant once a month (spouse gets to pick)
I realize that if I am tired at work, it could be that I am more truly tired at home. Adversely, I find that if I can tend to each of these spheres regularly, I am tapping into important sources of power that overflow into and strengthen all other spheres. Instead of waiting for a rhythm to emerge out of circumstances, I cannot control, I can connect to my God, by connecting to the self that God created me to be.
This Lent, I invite you to join me in weaving a holy rhythm into our rhythmless world, whatever that looks like for you. God loves when we bring our fullest selves, so that the gifts God gave us for this specific time and place may shine with the light of all of the lamps unhidden by all of the bushel baskets (Matthew 5:15)!
Looking forward to being in touch with you again soon!
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
(Next week I’ll chat about why I attend the White Privilege Conference and the gift of learning more about how little I know about the world)