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Tag: Lent

The Voice of God in my Body

“What are you giving up for Lent?” my tribe asks. I say “tribe” because my brilliant writing coach friend taught me to view those who share my questions in life as my tribe.

The question didn’t spring itself on me this morning. I knew Lent was coming since the day of Epiphany in early January. Mardi Gras (or carnival) inevitably rolls into Lent with its ever-present question—what during the church’s traditional season of asceticism and preparation for Easter am I giving up?

One thing: my husband is our cook so whatever food he gives up, for the most part, I give it up too. I don’t consider this my Lenten discipline; it’s his discipline that I piggyback on. It leaves me to answer for myself the basic question: how will I focus on God this season?

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I Saw God

Graffiti. A bare tree. My dog’s pink tongue. This is where I’m seeing God these days.

My Lenten discipline this year for the forty days preceding Easter is to see God every day and share my sightings on my Facebook author page. I’ve had many, varied Lenten disciplines over the years. During my childhood, mostly no sweets. As an adult, often no alcohol; easier, now, for me to give up than sweets. 🙂 Last year, we did vegan for three days a week. By the end of the first week the practice had knocked me off my I-don’t-eat-much-red-meat-so-I’m righteous pedestal. I HATED it. But I learned how very much I depended on animals to stay alive. This Lent, I wanted my practice to force me to be with God.

I Saw God Today
in the graffitied encouragement on the warehouse loading dock when, after a grueling ( 🙂 ) physical therapy session, I plopped into the chair in NOCCA’s new cafe and glanced out the window: ‪#‎Lent2015‬

 

 

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My sightings of God are not going to be yours. For the most part, they don’t take place in church (particularly when I’m recovering from a hip replacement and not going to church.) It has dawned on me that when I finish Lent, if you follow my postings, you are going to know what I believe about God. This can be a scary thing.

I Saw God Today
when Evangeline’s pink tongue poked from her mouth and licked my thumb. We love our pets whole-heartedly, knowing full well their time on this earth is briefer than ours and we are sure to mourn their passing. God is in the courage of that love. #Lent2015

vangie

You will have seen my underlying melancholy.

I Saw God Today
in the shadow of a parked car, the outline crisply defined, appearing in the parking lot only because the sun chose to shine. “Do not rue the shadow; it means the sun shines nearby.” #Lent2015

You will see where I believe the Spirit to reside.

I Saw God Today
in the stark beauty of this tree, its bare white limbs soaring in a city that celebrates its live oaks ‪#‎Lent2015‬

tree

 

You will see clearly how much I love my husband.

I Saw God Today
in my husband’s hands as he pressed into place the covering to protect my incision. “Let’s get out all your bubbles,” he said, gently checking his work. The covering crackled. His palms smoothed, done. ‪#‎Lent2015‬

But as you click on Like depending on the content of the post, I will see what resonates with your Spirit too. I’ve already discovered that, for most folks, it’s more likable to see God in the light rather than the dark. I am trying not to get sidetracked by reader’s reactions but to swim forward based on my own watery, blurred sightings. Each day I wonder, will I see God today? I can’t think ahead, can’t plan, cannot fake it. I must wait for that moment when the air coalesces and a frisson arrives, and I know: that’s God.

Now you may think I’m a tad touched. So be it. No one searching for God in this world is gonna be altogether sane.

I Saw God Today
in the corona of Mary. She traveled with me to Nazareth where she was sprinkled with water from the well. I rubbed her image this morning and the oil from my thumb polished her golden rays. Why did I see God in Mary? Because I missed her and went looking for her. ‪#‎Lent2015‬mary

I Already Knew I Liked Wine

Someone posts a photo of her beloved pet, and I weep.

Someone posts a photo of a great flash mob, and I weep.

Someone posts a quote, and I weep.

I believe I’m ready for Lent to be over.

I don’t think I’m put together for an extended period of intentional deprivation. I’m MUCH better at deprivation over which I have no control. Intentional deprivation—a lecture to yourself to not be happy—makes me (Surprise!) not happy.

I am not an adherent of the “suffering brings us closer to God” tribe.

I am an adherent of the “God put all this joy on the earth for a reason” tribe.

I have learned a great deal from my discipline of not critiquing people (I’m sure I’ll write about it at some point when I’ve got the energy). I’ve learned one big lesson from the vegan days—animals keep me alive—but I realized that a week and a half into Lent. I have learned nothing from the abstaining from alcohol because I already knew I liked wine.

Call me spiritually immature. Call me lazy. Call me a whiner. Call me a failed Episcopalian. I can agree with you on some of those. Just, at this stage in the liturgical calendar, don’t call on me to defend Lent.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

I Take My Lent Seriously

For Lent, I gave up critiquing people. Well, actually I adopted a practice of launching into a critique only to pop my hand over my mouth and say, “Oh, sh!t. I gave up critiquing people for Lent.” So, in fact, for Lent, I took on cursing.
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I hate to announce my intent because, as my husband correctly points out, my creations often end up looking different than intended, but I’m gonna make a bread heart today for a bar. The heart-shaped bread is for the Love Lost Lounge in the Marigny. The bar hosts a St. Joseph Day altar tomorrow. I want to give the bar a gift because I love that a bar offers a St. Joseph altar and feast for the neighborhood. I’ve given bars gifts before. I picked the heart because the bar’s logo is a heart . . . with a stake in it. If the gift ends up looking like an olive on a toothpick, I’m giving the bar an olive on a toothpick.
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Wednesday and Fridays, until Easter sets us free, we’re eating vegan. Vegan means no animal products. No cheese, no eggs, no butter, no mayonnaise. No Greek yogurt. I have come to hate Wednesdays and Fridays. In a panic, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I eat like a glutton. This Lent, I have given a new name to Fat Tuesday. On the other hand, I will never take animals for granted again.
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“No alleluias in Lent.” That’s a staple of the Episcopal Church. To make sure we get the point, we ceremoniously bury the Hallelujah banner. (Yes, I’m spelling alleluia differently just to mess with you). We Episcopalians don’t have parties during Lent—when my first book came out and the Episcopal Bookshop wanted to give me a book launch, the Dean said “No book party during Lent.” Lent is soup and bread and DOUR. So yesterday when I jooked to the bands at the St. Paddy’s Day Parade, I did not shout Hallelujah! I take my Lent seriously.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

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