Friday Thoughts/Where Has the Time Gone?

I haven't done a lot of writing this Lent, unlike most years, but that doesn't mean I haven't done a lot of reflecting. Being an extremely verbal person (take that as you will - I talk too much or I have a great vocabulary or whatevs), I thought (no, felt!) it would be good to take some time off from trying to process everything all the time and just let some things be. And so I've been saying my prayers and watching out for God in the world and looking at images in hopes of relating them to those prayers and that action of God.  I didn't set out for this (not reflecting through writing) to be my Lenten discipline (for a lot of reasons I never got around to deciding on a Lenten discipline) but it turns out to have been just that.

And what it has boiled down to is this, which is neither profound nor permanent but does seem to speak to where I am in life right now: it is very easy for me to live in my head and to become isolated and I have come to realize (allow myself to?) that I long to experience something I cannot plan or manufacture for myself. I need to move toward others to hear about their own experiences and their own questions and the things that they wrestle with.  I need to hear them tell about the grace that moves through their lives. Not so I can answer their questions but so that they can help me answer mine.

Meanwhile, where has the time gone? Reflection of the sort I turned out to have been doing takes me into a more timeless space. But the calendar and to do list now call. We are almost there, to Holy Week, an overwhelming time for many of us. We clergy have calendars and schedules packed with sermon writing and liturgies at which we preside or assist or preach. We visit the sick, we renew our ordination vows, we walk with our congregations and parishioners through this extraordinary time in the life of the church that reflects upon this extraordinary time in the life of Jesus. We are at church in the morning and in the evening and are in conversation in-between about logistics.  We walk through it with joy (being very busy during Holy Week does not make us feel put upon - we are humbled by the privilege we have to serve God and God's church and God's people) and also being aware of the cosmic scope of this whole thing.

And so that's where I am as we approach Palm Sunday. I hope your Lent has been a blessing to you. It's about time to buckle our seat belts for the Holy Week ride again.


Mollie Douglas Turner+ said…
How well I know the Holy Week juggernaut at Bruton, Penny! Joyful cosmic privilege, yes, and magnificently exhausting by the time Easter sees the sun set! I'll see you some next week, I'm sure...and I'll keep you and our brethren in my prayers, as always. Many blessings be yours, my sister.
Thanks, Mollie! Looking forward to seeing you soon. We ought to schedule lunch again after the Resurrection!
Perpetua said…
I'm glad your unplanned Lent has been so fruitful in self-knowledge and discovery, Penny. I wish you the strength and energy you'll need to accompany your people through Holy Week, which for me was always the most tiring but rewarding part of my liturgical year. This year I shall be on the sidelines as we're snowed-in at present!
Meredith Gould said…
This is beautiful, Penny. I can identify with wanting and in my case longing for more connection -- but not with others. Mine has been a very outward-facing and focused Lent. My head and heart feels almost too full of other peoples thoughts, feelings, and stories! And for the first time in over a decade I'm not waking up every morning outraged and heartbroken by what's going on within the Roman Catholic church! Reading your gorgeous, thought-provoking post has me thinking that perhaps Easter will be my time to walk quietly with God.

Prayers for your energy and inspiration as you serve your congregants!
Thank you, Perpetua. Amazing to be snowed in during Holy Week! Be safe!
Thanks, Meredith. I hear you. One of the things I love about liturgical traditions is how the church year prods us to move from one affection to another with the change of seasons. Glad this was meaningful to you. And thanks for the prayers!