Embrace the good
February 26 was Ash Wednesday. Leading up to that date, many of you considered how you would observe the upcoming forty days of Lent. In order to turn your attention more fully toward God, you may have resolved to fast by giving up something you particularly enjoy or adopting a new practice of benevolence toward others.
How odd it is that Lent ended on Easter Sunday without worshipers, dressed in the pastels of spring, bursting forth from church doors and greeting each other with smiles, handshakes and hugs.
The current world crisis has forced us to continue “fasting” from many things we hold dear. But as we are denied access to those people and places and the freedom we take for granted, it gives us the opportunity to put things in perspective.
Last week a wise friend said, “Fasting allows you to step away (from that object, activity, relationship) and observe at a distance and evaluate the importance of the subject of your fast.”
In other words, we can’t see the trees for the forest.
Think about it.
Ordinarily, our daily lives are so action-packed, so sensorily overloaded that it is nearly impossible to focus, evaluate and decide "is this really important?"
So we simply ride the roller coaster, doing what we always do, as though our feet cannot reach the brake pedal and our voices cannot rise above surrounding cacophony to protest.
Not today. The world crisis has set the emergency brake for us. But that isn’t all bad.
Today, as we follow stay-at-home directives and practice social distancing, we can put things in perspective.
We can begin to see the trees.
“Yes, all I really need, I can find at Publix.”
“Recreational shopping was fun, but really a waste of money.”
“Finally, I have time and the attention span to clean out (the closet, the garage, under the kitchen sink).”
“I enjoy being alone more than I imagined.”
“This time with my spouse has been really good. We were both surprised.”
“I’m using this time to learn (a new language, a musical instrument, on-line skills.)”
“We find that we really enjoy cooking and eating together. Who knew?”
So from this forced adjustment to routine, we can learn that self-discipline is not beyond our reach.
What we thought we couldn’t live without, we actually can and happily so. Past activities and preoccupations may seem such a waste from this new perspective. You may find yourself cleaning out more than just your closet before this period of time comes to a close.
The still, small voice is ever present. Reassuring us. Comforting us. Remind us that “greater is He who is within me (you) than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.
Without so much to distract me these days, I smile as I listen to the seagull’s laughter and watch flutter and flip of the mockingbird’s tail. I am at peace, knowing that in the end all will be well.
Lord, You feed the birds of the air and You feed us. Teach us, O God, the lessons you have for us learn today and may we abide in Your peace that passes all understanding. In Jesus' Name, Amen.