The pastor of my grad school parish once gave a fascinating reflection, at about this mid-point in the season, called "How to Survive the Mid-Lent Crisis"! As I recall, his main point was that by halfway through the season we have often found it very challenging to live up to our original plans....But, he suggested--on the analogy of the healing and reframing of our life plans that can happen during a mid-*life* crisis--that that can be even more fruitful.
So here's an invitation to check in on the state of your spirit midway through "this joyful season where we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed" (Roman Missal). Hopefully there's a good deal of grace, and not too much crisis, in your mid-Lenten experience!
1. Did you give up, or take on, anything special for Lent this year?
I decided to take better care of myself and work on being my best "me," bearing in mind that in some areas I will need to push myself and in others, to be more gracious. I've flippantly referred to this plan as giving up the dark circles under my eyes for Lent.
2. Have you been able to stay with your original plans, or has life gotten in the way?
Pretty much. I've slept more and exercised a little more. I've been fighting a persistent stomach bug, so my eating hasn't been all I could wish. My usual eating plan is hard to follow when you don't want anything to eat but maybe crackers and chicken soup.
3. Has God had any surprising blessings for you during this Lent?
It's been more rewarding than I've thought. I've always been fairly highly strung as far as stress. Add to that a deep-rooted proclivity to procrastinate, and you have a recipe for disaster. I've been somewhat better at managing that part of myself. On the other hand, the house isn't any cleaner. So the taking care of the house to remove that stress on me (I hate a dirty house only marginally more than I hate house-cleaning) has not worked out. Still, there are weeks to go.
4. What is on your inner and/or outer agenda for the remainder of Lent and Holy Week?
Whew. I need to write a contemporary service for Holy Week. I'm thinking of modifying a Tenebrae service from my collection. I'd planned to do that earlier, to accomodate a couple of new musicians who need extra practice time. So that's for next week. Mostly, I'm planning to keep juggling the same balls and work on putting some of them down from time to time.
5. Where do you most long to see resurrection, in your life and/or in the world, this Easter?
In our larger community life as a Church, I'd love to see resurrection in our relationships, especially with those with whom we have disagreements. I'm following the Prop 8 stuff in CA because it affects a friend, and also because I'm struggling with the justice issues involved. In my tradition (United Methodist) and my area (Southeastern Jurisdiction), participants in the conversation seem to be pigeon-holed into either fundamentalists or flaming liberals. I've avoided public comment because there seems to be no room for me in the middle, and I'm not interested in the labels. This also applies to dialogue with/about Muslims, war, poverty, our relationships with other countries, the global economy...I wish we could have a fresh revelation from God about how to gracefully and God-fully have these conversations.
Bonus: Share a favorite scripture, prayer, poem, artwork, or musical selection that speaks Lenten spring to your heart.
I'm following Carrot Top Studio's Lenten Art Journey this year as a meditation aid and provoker of thought and prayer.