So happy to put fingers to keyboard! I had to take a break from the blog for awhile due to some pain in my hands that was making regular typing problematic. Glad to be beginning again — AGAIN — and just in time for Lent.
This year, I’ve been drawn to journey through Lent in a more all-encompassing way than I’ve ever done it before. I plan to document it all here — the bad and the good, the ugly and the beautiful — as I know I’ll need the outlet and I pray that others will be blessed…not by my feeble attempts, but by God’s goodness and faithfulness in the process.
Inspired by Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor, and in conjunction with just having signed up with Compassion International to sponsor a seven-year-old girl from Guatemala, I plan to change my diet to that of a poor person in Guatemala from Monday through Saturday, with Sundays being “feast days,” which does not mean overindulging, but a loosening of the restrictions; perhaps a meal out, a glass of wine. (Chris Seay was very wise in saying to not eat “trigger foods” on Sundays as that will make the rest of the week that much harder.) I am doing some research to find out exactly what foods I will eat, but one thing is sure — the choices and amounts will be limited, and water will be my only beverage, perhaps with some lemon or lime.
Along with the dietary changes, I felt I needed to pull back on other luxuries. I could so easily drown out my hunger and ignore the deeper issues by escaping into TV, Netflix, Facebook, and computer/iPhone games, so all of that is going away, too. Books and music will be my entertainment. I’m looking forward to reintroducing myself to my piano (it’s been over a year since I really played). And plan to take long walks (when it’s not raining)…and spend more time praying for family, friends, the church and the world…and being quiet…and journaling…and connecting with God and myself…I hope for more voice-to-voice conversations with friends rather than pixels-to-pixels…and maybe even some old-fashioned letter writing, too. I was tempted to give up email completely, but for practical reasons I’ll still check it, but only twice a day (still figuring out what times will be best).
This is going to be hard…VERY hard…probably more than I realize. I also know that letting go of these attachments and coming face to face with myself and what lurks underneath is an important step in getting to know Jesus (and myself) more. It fits right in with my current journey toward living more contemplatively and seeking to be aware of God’s presence in the minutae of my everyday life.
I also recognize that I have never been poor, EVER. I have no idea what that feels like. My compassion for the poor is a nice theory, and really, doing this for 40 days makes it only slightly little less theoretical. I have a warm home with a soft bed and an abundance of pillows; indoor plumbing with clean water — both hot and cold — at the turn of a knob, and two indoor bathrooms; plenty of clothes to wear; a washer and dryer; a refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, electric water kettle; a car; money in the bank. Thinking of these things makes my attempt of “solidarity with the poor” almost laughable. And yet, it’s a start.
I suspect the journey of giving thanks for all things and in all things is going to come into very sharp focus over these next weeks. (Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for starting me on that path!)
I know I will stumble and not do this perfectly. I also know there will be grace. I have no idea what joys and heartaches lie ahead, but I do know that God is leading me on this path so I won’t be alone. I’m excited to share with you what I discover along the way.
P.S. If you want to join forces with me in solidarity with the poor, you can find lots of info HERE.