Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is upon us... and since it's so late this year, I've had a long time to think about what I might doforLent as in "what are you doing for Lent?" When I was growing up we never talked about Lent, but our church now celebrates Ash Wednesday with a service... so now I think about what I might doforLent.

The big question is always why.

A couple years ago I began to ask myself this question and was inspired by a poem by Mary Oliver called "Gethsemane" from her book Thirst. And it reflects on the poor disciples, falling asleep in the garden when Jesus was agonizing over the death to come, and the stars and wind that kept watch with him that night. In the Bible Jesus says "watch with me" and this is what I want to doforLent. I want to keep my eyes open to Jesus in this world, not to fall into the bleary sleep of everyday life. It takes intention, and open heartedness, and more courage, I am sure, than I have.

So I do acts of discipline, like pinches and slaps, to keep my eyes open during the long night of Lent. And sometimes I still fall asleep. Because, as Mary Oliver says, "this too/must be a part of the story."


  1. Nice redo. I gave up coffee for Lent, sort of. not right at the beginning, but shortly after.
    I also gave up alcohol, but not really for Lent, either.

  2. Thanks for calling and clarifying... either way it's a sacrifice if not for God for a God-imaged one!