Some years, we elect our Lenten discipline, thoughtfully chosen to strategically open or soften parts of our hearts that feel more like stone than like flesh.
This year my heart got a different kind of journey than I had plotted.
The Lent I had planned included a series of 40 reflections, 31 already thought through and outlined…. All focused on feminine spirituality and why we as church seem determined to avoid this reality of gender different spirituality in favor of being insistent on this view of unisex spirituality. Like Mary of Magdalene who met Jesus in the garden, I felt called to go and tell that story whether anyone listened or not.
That was the Lent I planned.
Then life entered and
Evicted my plans.
Well, “life” is likely too broad of a word to be truly honest… a simple generality I am hiding behind because I don’t want to write about my pain. I really, really don’t want to write about my physical pain. I don’t want to give it space or power or attention or even words. In many ways, I am thankful to have been able to carry on with much of life and work.
Though I am now making more serious adjustments. I have missed a few of my appointments. I am traveling less for business. (Thankfully, still vacationed with our family.) And, with a new tentative diagnosis and better meds, the end may be in sight. Maybe.
When pain is bad, I can’t concentrate to write.
When it is better, I am so tired or behind on everything else that all I want to do is sleep and recover.
The other part of Lent that has been a surprise has been where the comfort has come from.
Though the list is long, I will describe but one scene since it happened just this evening at the Maunday Thursday service I almost didn’t attend.
In some Episcopal churches, including our big downtown one, we really do still wash each other’s feet. Last year we went to the kid’s service which was a BLAST (or shall I say SPLASH!) This, year, I was too late for that one, even late for the grown up one but went anyway.
Comfort came tonight in the way that a big muscly dude with tattoos and a golden paisley-like shirt, a man I don’t know at all, washed my feet. He was so careful and gentle and thorough. There was no rush only care, real care to each detail. And afterwards, he thanked me so sincerely.
It’s been a tough Lent. I have still mostly related to Mary of Magdalane in the garden…. it’s just not yet the part about going forth to use my voice but instead the less comfortable moment when she could not see Jesus because of her tears. Unlike her, I know he’s here somewhere. Maybe I will find him by Easter…