Monday, February 19, 2007

Time and Lent

I am finding that, as Lent approaches, my outlook and approach to life are becoming increasingly fragmented. Usually I can laugh off the general chaos of my existence and attribute it to Adult ADD, or to my proclivity for procrastination. But this year I am not feeling so good-natured about the circumstances in which I find myself.

In part because, although the house is in relative order on the surface, there are still endless piles of papers and books to be dealt with.

In part because I had a disorienting conversation last week, the effects of which are proving to be rather lasting.

In part because the icicles are going to pull down some of the gutter and soffit and I am going to cry.

In part because I keep getting older and more dissatisfied with my appearance (read: weight).

In part because it has come to my attention that whatever choices I may or may not have for whatever is or is not next in my life will have disclosed themselves by Easter.

So. I have a plan. I figure Lent is only 46 days if you count Sundays, 48 if you start today, before Mardi Gras. Even I can keep my act together for that period of time. Maybe. Possibly.

I plan to work on my photo albums, which are four years behind, because that is a positive and concrete thing that I can do.

I plan to remain calm and composed in the face of difficult conversations and falling-down houses. Last night I listened in for a few minutes to a parenting class at church. The speaker was unexpectedly oustanding, and emphasized that one of the main attributes of an effective parent is composure. (This caused me to lean over to our minister and remark that the problem is that our parenting starts with labor, an event at which composure is not featured. Still, composure is good.)

I plan to eat carefully, because those Weight Watcher ladies intimidated the hell out of me the one time I went, and I want so much to get rid of much of my wardrobe and make purchases designed for delight rather than disguise, and I want my blood pressure to go down.

I plan to address the uncertainty in my life by focusing on the uncertainties of Lent itself. I am going to read and pray with Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, recommended here. And I am going to reread and reread Beginning to Pray, which I think I found here, and which is one of the best books I have ever encountered.

And I am going to ponder how I manage my time. Not in the usual time-management sense of all those Seven Habits kinds of books found all over the place. But in a sense of time as a holy space and a way forward. Time as where I am. There is no doubt an element of self-preservation in such an attempt, as I am hoping to avoid total disorientation and despair in April. But I think that, overall, a look at time in midlife is a good thing. And, as a consequence, the Prague clock, as photographed by my sons, will make periodic appearances. You can learn more about the clock here.

And I am going to stick with one of my favorite Jesuits and what I have come to call the Grand Canyon Prayer.

So. I have a plan. I am composed and I have a plan.


Cynthia said...

You have a very ambitious Lent. It has rather snuck up on me this year, and I'm completely unprepared. I know that it will draw me in though. It always does.

more cows than people said...

bless you in pursuit of your plans. may your lent be holy- you are far more prepared than me and i am a pastor- sheesh! and bless you for reminder of my most beloved city, praha.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Happy to have found this post.

Lent. Always confused me. I have a harder time knowing how to do with than knowing how to do without. Bummer.

Carol said...

Ambitious goals, indeed. Some may just spur me to set some of my own even though I don't observe Lent! But getting up, "off my arse" and doing something would reap very positive benefits in my life right now. Thanks for the nudge. And that clock is way cool!

Kathryn said...

Hmmmm. I may have to use that Grand Canyon prayer this lent. I find myself in a similar state but now so composed about it.

Lisa :-] said...

At least one of us has one. A plan. that is...

...and blogger is being a pain in the ass, and if this comment doesn't publish this time, I'm just going to bag it...

Quotidian Grace said...

It is good to have a plan. Your plan is good, too.

I'm taking on something for Lent--leading a small group at our new church. Now I'm thinking that next year I'll just say "no" for Lent.

Anonymous said...

Nice plan.
My plan is to survive Lent (how horrible and not-in-the-least-bit-spiritual is that?

Maybe I'll cast mine away and check out the books. Thanks for the tips.

And bless you this Lent.