Rock the House!

As we move deeper into Lent, I am more and more unsettled.  It happens every year.  This is one of the reasons why we observe Lent - we need to be unsettled periodically and if it takes being scheduled to do that via church season calendar, so be it.  Not many of us would do it on our own, otherwise.  Not many of us would consent to having our foundations rocked, at least enough to loosen up the junk that clings like barnacles to our exteriors.  The stuff that needs to fall off because it's either sucking the life out of us or holding us back from being who we were made to be.

As Irenaeus said, the glory of God is a human being fully alive.  That's what we were made to be - fully alive.  If we are fearful, stingy, grasping, morose, filled with anxiety - you know the list and can add your own - we are unable to be what we were made to be.  We may have seasons of fear and doubt, but we are not fully alive if we decide to live there permanently, no matter how comfortable we have gotten.

As I said yesterday, growth is wild and unpredictable and sometimes it hurts in the middle of the night.

Most likely, only you (and God and possibly your therapist or spiritual director) know what it is that's holding you back; only you know what you need to shed and you may need to wake up in the middle of the night and have an "aha moment" in which you realize that there's something you just need to give up/let go of.  I find that at the beginning of Lent, when I am figuring out my Lenten discipline, I may not know what it is yet.  I go ahead and start the season with a plan, and then maybe I adjust as I go along, setting one thing aside (this year, a book that just wasn't speaking to me) while taking something on something else in my prayer life that comes to light or changing something about my habits or activities.  This is hard work; it's easier to give up chocolate for six weeks than to attempt to look at myself without blinders every day.

So, instead of chocolate (which is simply a given, I'm afraid), what's my real temptation this year?  As someone embedded in a family (aren't we all?), daily I need to determine where my responsibilities ought to be and where they ought not to be.  We may be called to bear one another's burdens and yet that is a dangerous activity.... when we think we are following Jesus but we are really taking responsibility that rightly belongs to others.  When we think we are being generous but we are really stunting others' growth.  When we think we are helping but we are really enabling.  I need to be mindful of the difference between "responsible to" and "responsible for."  This spring we have lots of activity in our family (don't we all?) and I am getting to practice (with mixed results) this discipline.  We are all growing, and at our best, we watch our own growth as well as the growth of others with delight.  At our worst, we are afraid of where that growth might lead us; we fear change even as we clamor for it.

Growing can be painful but growing is what we are called to do. We grow physically and we grow in faith and in love and in knowledge.  We grow into what God calls us into.  And we don't do that alone - we do it in community.  All of us need to be accompanied on our faith journeys, and there are times when we will need to lean on the faith of others to get us through some rough spots.  And to take our turn being the one leaned upon.  But it is important for all of us to know that eventually we will be ready, and will be required, to stand on our own two feet again.  With God's help.

And when we do, all the angels will rejoice.


Ray Barnes said…
You really do have a gift for putting into words
what many of us think.
I absolutely agree with your thinking on where to stop being a prop and likewise, where and when to stop leaning on others. At some stage we all have to accept that only we ourselves, with God's help can solve some of our problems answer some of our needs.
Thanks, Ray. Life is interesting, isn't it?
Actually, now the quote from Helen Keller comes to mind: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.