Wednesday, March 01, 2006

seesaws and sandals

It's the first day of Lent and I haven't decided what, if anything, to give up. I'm not inclined to fast in any significant way this year, for some reason. I would like to let some things go, but most of them don't feel optional right now. Grading? Chauffeur duty? Housecleaning? (Oh, yeah, already gave that up...)

I like the idea of discipline, spiritual or otherwise. It's good for me to think about what to do, and when, and why, instead of just going through the motions. Practice is another useful word in this regard; too often we just do, especially as adults. We don't think (or I don't, much) about practice, about repetition, about improvement. Even in writing, I focus much more on product than process/practice, despite my training as a writing teacher. The blog may be process of a sort--but is it practice? Is it a discipline?

Lent interests me as spiritual practice because it feels so counter-intuitive. It's the time of year things are springing back into life, the world is reawakening, hope rekindles--and yet the church says, ignore that (for a moment, for forty days) and focus on what's going on within, on the tension between yes and no, on the in-betweenness, the not-yetness, of so much of our lives. Now that I think about it, though, maybe it is precisely the right season for that, as we seesaw between cold and warmth, sweaters and sandals. Focusing on the seesaw, not the sandals, might be just the way to go.

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