Lent. Day 40.
23 years since I moved to Oregon.
Forty days ago I set out on a reflective journey for my Christ Year. The first chapter was Lent.
My terms of Lent were simple; I opted not to abstain from anything except Facebook. Rather I chose to prioritize the reading of Scripture, particularly the Gospels.
I wanted to feel again the rhythm and rigor of daily immersing myself in the story of Jesus.
Abstaining from Facebook was easy. I didn’t even need to have a trusted friend change my password for me like I thought I might. This is encouraging for me, particularly in light of now identifying with the Recovery community. I am delighted to have made a decision to abstain from a thing and to have stuck to it.
Establishing a Bible-routine discipline was complex. On the one hand, reading a chapter or two a day was a fairly attainable goal. I only missed one day of reading and covered 3 Gospels. Realistically, reading a chapter or two per day can be done in 8-10 focused minutes. Nevertheless, finding 8-10 free minutes every day where I could devote all my attention to one reading task without being interrupted proved to be quite a bit of work.
The Bible stories have great potency and power to touch the soul and spark the emotions. So of course I discovered all the things that dull the emotions. Food, drink, music, simultaneously brushing my hair, being in the bathroom, being too tired…the presence of any of these things disrupts my emotional connection to the text and renders it just a text and just a task. I wanted to avoid that experience, so I sough out quiet times to read…and that was the hard part.
A further challenge I encountered was that, once I found a quiet 8-10 minutes to read with maybe another 10 minutes to journal, I would rush to finish because I wanted to do more of other stuff afterwards. Writing, blogging, watching a show, sleeping. I found that prioritizing Christ above all else means more than just making sure I get to Him every day; it means making sure I leave Him all the time He wants to lead my soul wherever He wants in that day.
There were other insights and thoughts that arose that will warrant further exploration.
The way I prefer non-relational activities because I secretly don’t know how to be comfortable in an intimate relationship.
The question of whether or not I could join my partner in telling our story to our church leaders.
The question of whether or not I could ever talk with my dad about the one and only time he ever hit my mom.
The importance of safety in the church.
How I miss taking the sacrament of communion in intimate community settings.
Will I ever get to be a creative person again?
Will I get to finish the novel I started so long ago?
And still…who is Jesus? Where does He lead me? How can I be more like Him?
I have hope for these questions; hope that they have answers. I have hope that, truly, Christ is present and He is sufficient.
I have hope, for Christ is risen.