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Shrove Tuesday. I am still trying to nail down my Lenten Discipline. Last year, I wrote a poem a day. Should I do the same this year? Should I try to tie each poem to the lessons in the lectionary for the day? How much of my current search for discernment should come into my discipline? How much should it be private and personal, and how much should it be online and part of the community. How much action? How much contemplation? Where do Deleuze and Benedict fit in?
This morning, I read Richard Rohr’s email, Learning How to Love where he talked about St. Francis struggling with similar issues. Richard talks about St. Francis asking “Sister Clare and Brother Sylvester to spend some time in prayer about it and then come back and tell him what they thought he should do”.
I shared this in a group on Facebook talking about St. Francis’ discernment committee.
Later, I read Kate Heichler’s blog post Hunger where she talks about the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness.
It should not surprise us that the Tempter hasn’t changed his tactics much. He still approaches us in those areas where we feel depleted or deprived, where we’re vulnerable to scarcity-thinking, where we can more easily be convinced that we deserve to be full. After all, isn't God the source of abundance and blessing?
Yes - and that is exactly what we need to remember in those times when we’re tempted to take what has not been given us, or manipulate others to give us what we want. It is God who gives in abundance, and we don't need to look elsewhere.
Where do I feel depleted or deprived? Where am I most vulnerable to scarcity-thinking? I worry about how I will continue to support my family during this time of seeking and wherever I am led next. How does my current journey and my current career fit together? Can I keep working in social media but only part time, while also working as a part time priest? My concern is that I’ll end up working full time in both professions.
Scarcity-thinking. Where will I find the time? Where will I find the time for daily meditations and writing? Where will I find the time to do the almost always overwhelming amount of tasks at work? How can I do all of this to my top performance? “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
The next blog post I read was Sara Lee Macdonald’s Walk With Me On Our Journey presents : Journaling your Journey beginning now and throughout Lent! Tonight's theme is : Prepare. To what extent will I participate in Sara Lee’s journaling? To what extent will I participate online? Her assignment for today,
Clean out the cobwebs in our spiritual selves and get it ready for Ash Wednesday. This is the annual Carbo Load before we take on tight control of the carbs in our lives.
So, I’ve written this at the end of my devotional time as I move into my morning social media activities, taking a little time form both. Can I continue this sort of schedule without feeling rushed?
I have downloaded a recording of St. Benedict’s Rule of Life which I hope to listen to in the car as I drive to and from work. There are the various books I’m reading for Lent. There are the Discernment Committee meetings.
I am not ready. I don’t feel like I have an abundance of time. Yet, to go back to Kate’s post, this is where I need to rely on God’s abundance.
The super bowl really didn’t hold my attention, so I headed off to bed early. But now, in the middle of the night, the meatballs and bean dip sit uncomfortably in my gut and I cannot sleep. After tossing and turning for a bit, I get up and try to write.
I don’t have a burning desire to write, like I often do. Instead, I am writing simply because it is what I do. Not only was it Super Bowl Sunday, but it was the last Sunday of Epiphany. We had a Baptism and our Annual Church Meeting.
The priest did a great job of tying the Baptism to the readings about transfiguration and focused on our own individual transformations. The annual meeting was upbeat and we all ate together afterwards as a church family.
I chatted briefly with our Seminarian. She spoke about how different Ash Wednesday was after she had started her discernment process. I commented about how even the Baptism felt very different. I looked at the child being baptized. I wondered what his life would be like, how God would touch him. I thought back to my own baptism, when I was a child. What was it like? For me? For me mother? For the minister? For godparents? What did they think would be come of me?
Phrases like “Changed from glory into glory” and “if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation” come to mind. I think back to my poem about Lent, “You have entered unchartered territory”.
I have not settled on my Lenten discipline for this year. Will I try to write a poem a day? What will I do with my personal devotion time? How do various study groups fit in? I keep stumbling into a few different ideas that seem at odds with one another.
One is the ‘Rule of Life’. It keeps coming up in different Lenten studies. I’m eager to jump into this, but waiting for Lent and for the studies to begin. Concurrent with this is my interest in the unknown, the unknowable, the unexpected, the unchartered territory. I think back to my readings about rhizomes, connected learning, and digital pedagogy.
Where does the Rhizome and the Rule of Life meet? How do I hold Saint Benedict and Gilles Deleuze in my mind together? It stirs a longing in my soul, to bring together these two thoughts in the midst of daily life.
I stumble across Deleuze’s essay Immanence and start reading the introduction. How I long to spend time reading it and finding others to discuss it with, in the context of the Rule of Life. Yet in a few hours, I will need to get on with my daily life.
I spend a little more time, looking at audio files I could download and listen to on my commute, but now I must try to get some sleep.
Friday was not a snow day for me. I drove for work while the roads were messy. It took a little while to get up the first hill I came to, but eventually, I was on my way, just at about two thirds of my normal speed. The heavy wet snow stuck to the trees and the parkway was beautiful. It made me think of A.E. Housman’s poem, “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now”.
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
as well as Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
So, I pressed on, thinking of the beauty of the snow, the dangers it brings and my promises to keep.
I tree had come down on our road and was leaning against the wire. We had to wait until the power company came out to cut down the tree, then for the town plow to come. I parked at a neighbor’s house and walked home.
I was tired and didn’t write a blog post on Friday. Saturday, I went to poetry group and also didn’t get to write.
My pile of reading material continues to grow. Various Lenten material and books for different study groups. There are ideas for blog posts pending, and I’m wondering what my balance of time over the next two months will be like.