Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Forty Days

It's Fat Tuesday...Mardi Gras. Time to indulge before the fast, to consume and celebrate before walking into the wilderness and spending 40 days in a season of penitence. Or is it?

Today is Tuesday. A regular day when kids went to school, came home, watched TV, ate ice cream, and practiced cello. It's a regular day. Alan and I got up, went to work, and came home. A regular day. A regular day of fixing dinner, taking the dog out to potty, and folding laundry. A regular day on my tiny piece of the planet.

It's a special day. Tuesday has meaning, life, breath, and joy because the sun came up and the earth kept spinning. God created this day. It's a special day. In the midst of so much misery and doubt in our world it's easy to ask, "Why is it special?" I imagine God answering "Because I said so." Strangely, that's enough for me. Not so much when I was 12 and my mom used that ridiculous line.

Today I was able to join in prayer, to grieve, to laugh, to question. I didn't solve deep theological issues, cure cancer, or abolish poverty. Today I was able to hug my children. Today I made my bed and sent some emails. Today I felt thankful but forgot to say grace. Today I spent way too long on this blog post when I could have been on a run. Today I felt God tugging at my heart and whispering, "Get ready!" Today I am filled with anticipation and I admit, a little trepidation.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent. This season can shut us down or open us up to transformation.  We can let the expectations to "give something up" rule and even ruin our experience with this opportunity. I don't want to "do" Lent.

Beginning tomorrow, and lasting for the next six weeks, I'm accepting the invitation. I'm planning on making space for God in my life in ways that don't always come easy for me. I have grand plans - and there is my first obstacle. Can I get out of the way enough for GOD to do the work and not me? Am I willing to wake up each regular special day inviting God to take control, believing that Christ is good, trusting the Holy Spirit to be enough? Today all I can do is hope.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5

These books will serve as guides for the journey: A Clearing Season by Sarah Parsons and A Place at the Table by Chris Seay.


  1. At your suggestion I've just ordered A Clearing Season. I was already planning to use A Place at the Table, but Sarah's book looks good so I'll give it a try!

  2. Thanks Jill. It's an excellent book - very accessible. My copy is a highlighted mess from last year and this year I'm highlighting in a different color as new lines pop out to me. Interesting to see what "matters" more this year as I read it. We're using it as the basis of our study for Lent at Women's Bible Fellowship at Newberg Friends. I'm interested to see how these two books work together and what you'll think of them too.