“Therese Martin as a Carmelite Nun” @ Art.com
Lent has not taught me that I’m weak or full of sin. It’s taught me how to be here not way over “there.”
When I was a kid, Lent was a time when I gave up candy, TV and meat on Fridays, which was cool because mom would sometimes drive to McDonalds for fillet o’fish meals! But somewhere in my 20’s I would realize I’d forgotten Lent when Easter sprang out of nowhere. In my 30’s I resurrected (oh, bad word choice!) … where was I? In my 30’s I practiced Lent differently. Instead of denying myself the physical and edible pleasures of life, I practiced presence.
Instead of seeing a piece of chocolate and screaming no while making the sign of the cross at it, I decided to catch myself caught up in thoughts or emotions. On the rare occasions that I did, I took that time to breathe, to hear the plane just flew over my house or what my son was saying; to smell the newly blossoming jasmine that grows by our front door or the trash that we’d forgotten to throw out the night before. Without judging the trash or the jasmine (which by the way, really needs a hair cut) or myself for not listening to my son, the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent are a good time to be here.
As a writer, I’ll be abstaining from self criticism and doubt, which are the demonic sisters of self-centeredness. During Lent I won’t be meeting page counts or finished manuscripts; I’ll be here with the work and letting it develop and grow. When those shrewish voices start hollering in my head, I hope for the presence of mind to breathe and let the voices go quiet on their own and return to the writing.