As I pondered my Lenten journey this year, I was taken by practices I found online, (experiencing Lent through pictures, through different actions each day, reading the Bible, taking on exercise, giving up certain foods, Lent Madness, blog posts, videos, etc.) I found that I was drawn to many of these things, but I cannot do them all. Nor is that the point. So I wondered, what was it about each of these that was speaking to me.
I was drawn to the idea of taking a picture each day of Lent, but as I looked at the categories given, some spoke to me and others did not. I’m at a transition place in my life, being underemployed, but quite busy. Having a picture to focus me each day was what drew me into this practice.
Doing a given act each day is inspirational and gets the person to think outside of themselves. What drew me to this was that it wasn’t necessarily about me, but about others. This kind of practice helps me set things apart and realize where God is in an action or interaction or the space between.
Reading the Bible is always a grounding practice for me, and that is what I need right now. A daily grounding in the stories of God, a daily reminder that others have been and continue to be in that place of transition and wondering and hoping into the future.
And, of course, Lent Madness for the learning, fun, and playfulness that ensues in the mixture of competition and saintliness.
So how can I bring all this together and still be with my family, walk the dog, do the work I have to do, and not be obsessive or over the top with all this doing?
What I really need is to create space, to clear out, to stop and watch and observe and take it all in. God is all around me, but am I aware of it? Do I see God in my child and dog playing? When I pay attention, yes. Do I see God in my work? When I pay attention, yes. Do I see God in the mundane things of the everyday? When I pay attention, yes. So that is my Lenten discipline. Pay Attention. Stop. Watch.
Each day, as I go about my normal life, my practice will be to pay attention to what is, to notice, to take in where God is in the little things and in the big things, to become aware of where I see God in others and in actions. Each day, I will also spend time reading the Bible to call upon the stories of the past and bring them into the now. On this journey, I will take pictures of some of these God moments, I will pause and give thanks for them, and I will let them soak in. Letting them infuse my soul with the sacred things in everyday life.
Today, as a day of clearing and making space, I am donating seven bags of clothes to the National Kidney Society, I cleaned out my email inbox and unsubscribed from a lot of the junk email I get, and I give thanks for the big, fat, beautiful snowflakes falling outside my window.
God of wonder and light, be with me this season of Lent as I pay attention. Draw my attention to you and to others. May the practice of stopping and watching help me to see you in a new way. May the practice of reading stories of you and your people open new stories in my soul. Lead me and guide me in this most holy and sacred time of wondering. Amen.