It’s been a busy few days and I had to surrender my goal of writing every day. It felt good to relax a bit and just go with the flow. I had a big project (the coat of arms I talked about on Day 5) and paper due for one of my classes so a lot of energy was spent on that. When I pushed “send” yesterday afternoon, I felt a huge weight lift off me. Ah… I can breathe again.
Continuing the theme of Spring from Day 6’s post, today my friends Christine and Aaron came over to help with my backyard garden. The weeds had grown so much after the recent rainy season, and it was time to get rid of them and plant some new things. My physical limitations prevent me from doing a lot of bending, squatting, or kneeling, so I am very blessed to have friends who love to garden and who can do the physical work. (I pay them for their efforts, so it is mutually beneficial!)
Aaron got to work doing the massive amount of weeding and pulling out old plants, while Christine and I went to the Ploughshares Nursery not too far from here on the island. This nursery gives 100% of their sales to help with housing for formerly homeless families. Perfect! I loved knowing that the veggies I’m growing will be helping other people. We had a sizable but reasonable list of vegetables and herbs to buy and we picked up some flowers, too. Aaron planted just about everything this evening before dinner and the yard looks great. I love the beginning of growing season.
And yet, I don’t always love the beginning of growing season IN ME. A new plan can feel exciting, but then when progress is slow, I get impatient. I don’t lose enough weight the first week on a diet, so I give up and try again later, only to repeat the cycle. I don’t keep to the daily routine I printed out, so i “forget” about it and hope someday I’ll have more discipline. If you read any of my pre-Lent blog posts, you’ll know that “trust in the slow work of God” is one of my new mottos, as is “always we begin again.” And yet these words sometimes take awhile to sink in, which is why this Lenten journey is so important to me.
My spiritual director was concerned that I’ve given myself too arduous of a Lent, and I understand and appreciate the concern. But I knew that something needed to be burned out of me, like dross on gold. I don’t want attachments to food, entertainment, and online connectedness to rule me anymore. Taking these things away has shown me just how much of my time and energy were being spent on those things.
I recently saw a quote which said, “If you track a [wo]man’s time, you’ll hunt down what [s]he worships.” *gulp* This doesn’t mean I have to be on my face before God 24/7, at least not literally. But I am learning more and more that as I give my life more space and room and boundaries, I’m able to experience the presence of God more and then carry that with me wherever I go. Slowing down and noticing His beauty, and being still to hear His voice in unusual or everyday events requires time and discipline.
I guess it comes down to this — if I want my garden to grow so I can harvest and enjoy and share the bounty of veggies, I am going to need to water it. If I want my spiritual life to grow, so I can enjoy more intimacy with the Lord and enjoy and share the bounty of the fruits of the Spirit, I need to water it with the Word, worship, prayer, and lots of time with God in various ways, including silence and solitude. My prayer is that this Lenten will help me kickstart some new routines and create not just physical hunger as I fast, but spiritual hunger which will drive my choices and allow me to feast.
Please set the table, Lord; I’m getting hungry.