I’m not a morning person, but yesterday morning I could have fooled you. I was full of ideas, questions, and energy. Ash Wednesday had arrived.
I had been really excited for Lent ever since I decided to practice intentional stillness and silence. If you’d like to know more details about my commitment you can read about it here. However, Wednesday arrived and I started to get a little bit apprehensive about my Lenten intentions. As I put on my make-up, I started chatting with God.
God, what are we gonna do? Where exactly am I going to go in order to cloister myself away from noise and distractions every night? It is still pretty cold outside. I know I said I would give two hours of every evening, but two hours is a long time, and so I’m just wondering if maybe I should have split those hours up a bit. I mean, I don’t have a watch so how am I going to know when my time is up? My cell phone will be way too much of a temptation, to have next to me, so that’s not really an option.
I pulled the mascara wand through my lashes, and stopped talking to God for a moment. I sighed, and felt a little bit discouraged with myself.
Hm. I’m already talking with you about the problems I foresee with what I’ve promised to commit to, and I haven’t even started yet. I really do need to be quiet. I really do need to empty my mind, clear out the distractions, but it is going to be so messy, Lord.
7:45am. Time to head to church. I smiled to myself as I carried my son out to the car and buckled him in the car seat.
At this time last year, I was anticipating my first communion, confirmation, and the birth of my little boy. Last year I walked into church with him in my belly, and now he is in my arms. I held him closer to me.
During the mass, my son and I went to receive our ashes. Crosses were traced on our foreheads. Yes, in my arms I was holding life, but someday his body will be dust, as will mine. Sobering thought.
This world is temporary. Do I live my life that way? No, sadly I don’t. Sometimes I live as if this is all there is.
It is good to have purpose and dreams. It is right to grieve loss and to allow my pain dignity. It is okay to find enjoyment and pleasure. I should aspire to love and to serve. Yet, when I lose sight of the fact that someday I shall be dust, and everyone I love will be dust; I allow life more power than it warrants.
In this Lenten season, may I become more aware of my mortality, and may I become more aware of the eternity that is found in Christ. That I would know the Divine in a new way through silence and stillness, and that I would be willing and able to walk through the pain and joy that may come while experiencing the quiet.
Readers, if you engage in Lent, what are your plans for this season? If you don’t have any plans for Lent, but have some experiences with stillness and silence, please share them!