We awakened to 3 or 4 inches of fresh powder this morning; and Wyatt and Seth got first tracks in the neighborhood with their sleds. Seth won the prize for best wipe-out (with a nice strawberry on the chin to serve as witness), but both of them had some pretty mammoth runs down the (very steep) hill. A superb morning.
Last Wednesday, we walked into Lent via a humble Ash Wednesday liturgy with All Souls. It was quiet and beautiful and rich. And yesterday, we entered the second week of Lent, as we move further into the rhythm, further into this time for stripping bare and re-centering, a time for awaiting the hope of Easter. Miska and I, as usual, picked what each other would surrender for Lent. Miska has forfeited chocolate, and I am to give up … fear.
Steering clear of chocolate will be difficult for Miska, given her penchant for Starbucks no-fat, decaf mochas (her narcotic of choice) and the Maya truffles from our local chocalatier, Gearhart’s. However, willpower and emptying the cupboards of offending items will see her through. That’s her story, though, not mine. I’ll leave it there.
Fear, however – now that’s a tricky one. I can’t exactly leave off fear by resisting to turn into Bucks’ drive-thru. I haven’t yet discovered a way to empty fear out of the pantry (though I’d love to try if you have any suggestions). I can’t turn fear off at 8 p.m., like last year’s discipline – no computer after 8. Miska picked exactly the right discipline for me, one that gets at the heart of my brokeness, one that touches my place of deepest need for Resurrection. But this I know: willpower alone will not get me through. I need Jesus.
So, as Lent began last week, I paid more attention to praying the hours. And, lo and behold, look what prayer greeted me as the prayer appointed for the week, the prayer I would find waiting for me each time I opened my prayer book:
Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who cares for us: Preserve me from faithless fears and worldy anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from me the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Every time I prayed, the words were thrust in front of me: fear nothing but the loss of you … cast all our cares … Preserve me from faithless fears…
I get this sense that someone is talking to me, that Someone is coaxing me toward the light, toward Resurrection. We have miles to go, but we keep walking toward the light.
Lenten mercy to you…
p.s. Miska has posted one of my favorite Lent-appropriate observations from Kathleen Norris