Ok.. I am sitting here enjoying a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon so I guess I am not giving up red wine for Lent. Do I really have to give something up? Why not add something significant. Why not do something out of my comfort zone. Something that matters. Something that makes me uncomfortable or that makes me stray from my neurotic daily routine.
I’ve been toying with the idea of living life with more awareness and intention. Not multitasking. Not flitting from here to there. Not changing the subject mid-conversation.
Living with intention.
So cooking a meal is just cooking a meal. It’s not talking on the phone and cooking a meal. It’s not checking my email and cooking. It’s just cooking.
And reaching for my seat belt after getting into my car is not reaching with one hand and turning on the radio with the other one and checking to see if I have gas and wondering if I need my oil changed. It’s just reaching for my seat belt.
Calling my step mother and asking how she is doing is not just a task that I can check off my list of things to do but actually a loving and intimate communication with a woman who stepped in and decided to love me and my family even though we aren’t really related.
Are you giving something up for Lent?
Or are you adding something that challenges you, stretches you, makes you stop and think?
Yesterday I had some minor surgery on my eye and was forced to take it easy- not something that comes naturally to me. I watched the news about children freezing to death in Afghanistan and then moved on to the updates of the Republican primary debates with the candidates manipulating every tactic and maneuver to make points with people who are vulnerable to their potential leadership. I then continued where I left off watching Breaking Bad– a series on netflix- the main character, Walter, dying of lung cancer and making moral and ethical decisions based on the short amount of time he has left to live.
I felt vulnerable and anxious watching all this despair, confusion and sadness.
Today I attended the noon liturgy at Mission Santa Clara in order to celebrate Ash Wednesday and receive my ashes. The message from Fr. Jack Treacy was comforting and refreshingly counterculture. “Ash Wednesday is the most populated day of the year here at the Mission! There is a longing in our hearts to re-establish our relationship with God and gain a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith and our commitment to one another in our community.”
Quite a contrast to the latest news reports and who is spending the most money on their campaigns and for what purpose.
As we received our ashes we were reminded “You are dust and to dust thou shalt return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” What am I doing with my life in this limited time I have on earth? What am I called to do or be during this lenten season?
I love the liturgies at the Mission Santa Clara. My friend, Rosemary, plays the clarinet for many of the Masses. We have been friends for 30 years. That’s what you call community. We did music together at St. Mary’s of the Assumption in Whittier, California when we were both newly married. Life evolved and both our families ended up in Santa Clara County. Our friendship has grown through many transitions- not always smooth and carefree. But it’s the commitment to our friendship that is foremost.
My relationship with my Catholicism is not perfect. I come to receive my ashes. I accept my mortality and my sinfulness and I long to be a better person and make a difference in the world. I am called during this Lenten season to be uncomfortable and aware. To fast, pray and give of myself and my gifts.
I will pay due diligence to my privilege to vote for the future president of my country.
But I find great comfort in knowing that my life has meaning and purpose because of my God.