Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thoughts on Giving It Up and Getting It Back

I'm not sure why it is, but I don't seem to have much to say lately. For awhile, I blamed it on the book I was writing, but now that I'm coming down off that writing ledge, I'm not sure what to blame it on.

Lent has been fruitful, so maybe that's behind the silence. I've been busy living Lent, but not writing about it. Pondering but not expounding.

I'm your basic sugar addict. One of the things I gave up this Lent was sweets. So, yeah. I missed them. (At first, I started compensating, but then I knew I needed to cut that out, too.) But, as I said to Ramona the other day when we had a little talk about sacrifices, the great thing about Lent is that even though I think it's going to be impo-o-o-ossible (cue my childish whining) to give up the things I've discerned, the things I crave, the things I think I'll die without, God swoops in and comes to my aid. And I always realize a couple of things.

First, that it's pathetic, given the state of hunger in the world, that I have a hard time giving up sugar (or insert other addiction here.) Second, even though I don't like giving up delightful comforts, I can do it. No matter how inconceivable it seems, He gets me through it. He strengthens my will, shows me I can live without stuff. That's why I give things up.

As I said to Ramona, I know that on Easter I'll welcome sugar back with open arms, just as in the past I have reunited with coffee or chocolate or other consumable objective goods. I will give sugar a hearty pat on the back, invite it in, tell it how much I missed it, and ask it to sit down and stay awhile. "You know," I told Ramona, "I didn't have to give up sugar to love God, but isn't it a good feeling to know that I can?" Ramona nodded sagely, considering her own ten-year-old level of sacrifice.

Beyond knowing I can survive without certain comforts, I also love returning to them with a different perspective, a more discerning heart. More detachment. A willingness to consider my life and its cushiness in a new light.

But mostly I return to this: I emerge from the cocoon of Lent secure in the knowledge that, yes, sacrifice is hard, but I'm capable of executing it. With His help, I can do this, whatever "this" is for me -- in this moment, on this day, this year, in this life.

"I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." ~~ Philippians, 4:13

3 comments:

owen swain said...

"Beyond knowing I can survive without certain comforts, I also love returning to them with a different perspective, a more discerning heart. More detachment. A willingness to consider my life and its cushiness in a new light."

Amen to that. Thank you also for your balanced comment on our mutual Internet friend's post per Heather's recent post.

owen swain said...

No need to publish this, I'm just adding it so I can click the Email follow-up which I neglected to do when leaving my actual comment :)

Karen Edmisten said...

Owen, thanks, and I appreciated your comment as well, in particular your reference to unnecessary comparisons between B16 and Pope Francis. We are indeed a both/and Church.