Yes to the new creation! Yes to Christ is Risen! Yes to all that I do not understand about this new beginning! Alleluia!
This year I am neither exhausted nor “sooo ready for Lent and Easter to be over.” What is different from past Lents was not bingeing on a multitude of spiritual practices. Lent is a time to go down, go deeper, and go spelunking into the dark and unexplored caves of the heart. I misread this as an invitation to gather up a overlarge slew of spiritual tools and start digging: give up something, take on something, read more, pray more, blog more, meditate on my shortcomings, exercise more, snack less, be kind, do a complete makeover in 40-some days….
A week into this overzealous archaeological expedition, I know I have overpacked; so many tools are a burden. But I trudge on with grouchiness and guilt added to the load. Self-shaming and trash talk about my spiritual inadequacy make me the center of all this exploring. I forget that the inner work is not primarily about me, but about connecting with Jesus. I’m not sure why I overload during Lent. I don’t know if I try to out-holy my efforts from the year before. But with uncharacteristic kindness towards myself, I think it’s more basic than that. I am hungry, really hungry for a deeper and more loving relationship with God, other people, and myself. Bingeing and hoarding on spiritual practices seems like the logical, if misguided, way to get what I need.
Thanks to a three-week cough right before this Lent, I did not have the energy for rounding up as many tools as usual. I picked one calendar template and one devotional to use with it. With his book Lent for Everyone: Luke, Year C: A Daily Devotional, New Testament scholar and retired Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright was a terrific guide for my Lenten exploration. Each day Wright offers a passage from Luke, a reflection, and a prayer. I chose one word from the daily reading, wrote it on the calendar, thought about it, doodled around it, and listened to it. The practice felt spacious and satisfying rather than burdensome. And I was not alone. Luke, N.T. Wright, and Jesus were there with me. That one simple word became my manna for the day. Not too much, not too little. Food and Enough.