I never seem to get Lent “right”– failed plans, false starts, barriers I stumble over. This year, it seems that my Lenten intentions have been laid out for me. All I have to do it live it.
I’ve watched a beautiful montage set to music about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela with mixed feelings. Such a rush of remembering, such peace, such frustration because right now I can’t even walk without my scooter or crutches, and I can’t really go out without assistance because I can’t get the scooter in the car by myself. I must rely on my husband or friends to give me a ride here and there. I can’t take the dogs for a walk. I’ve discovered I’m not very graceful at this business of being trapped.
My path seems to be to walk through it. To be present to the frustration. I’m on hold. My fast must be from control, from freedom to move around this town like I want to. This too shall pass (it better!) and so I learn to deal with temporary disability. But it’s not coming easy. I just want to be at the end.
I am gaining empathy for those who must deal with this sort of immobility on a far more permanent basis. I’ve learned to rejoice in ramps and curb cuts and smooth ground to roll on. I’ve experienced people helping me open doors and other acts of assistance and kindness. These are lessons that it is far easier to pay lip service to than to actually internalize because you are living them.
One step at a time. One day at a time… get through the cast stage. Hope for the boot. Hope for being allowed to put weight on my left foot and begin to walk again. Ignore the fact that there will likely be a lot of discomfort as I recover. Breathe. Don’t go postal. Breathe.
This was a week where the world looked dull and grey and the glass was always half empty. I reverted to ashes – and the words from a song we often use for Ash Wednesday rolled through my head without ceasing for an entire afternoon:
…we offer you attempts
the gifts not fully given, the dreams not fully dreamt
Give our wanderings direction
Give our visions wider view
An offering of ashes, an offering to You.
I may not have the words exactly right, but that’s how these things go: the last line rolls around, and finally is joined by the one before, and eventually the verse is reconstructed from the bottom up. And sometimes it’s not really the original words.
In that half-empty mindset I looked at my dresser which reflects my life. It’s awash in the remnants of not quite finished business. Needed supplies that got as far as the dresser, but the bag remains; a couple of tags removed from a shirt, but never thrown away; Earrings taken out that never made it back to the jewelry box. It reminds me that I have a lot of work to do with respect to letting go. I make the move in a new direction, but I really have trouble with leaving the past behind. Ever. There are memories to keep, I know. There are lessons learned that need to be remembered. But, how will I ever move if I’m still dragging the baggage.
Guess I’ll go clean off that dresser top. Got to start somewhere, and I don’t have the energy to think about the kitchen!
It’s well into Lent, and I’m being struck by ashes. Ashes are grey — not navy blue, or muddy brown – Grey. Like colorless. Like I feel about so many things today. I’ve been down this rabbit hole before, and I’m not going back. So, I find that I must do whatever I can to add color back in.
I’ll walk – 3, 4, maybe 5 miles this afternoon. Maybe I’ll go on a cleaning spree in the house — vacuum and declutter. Eat properly. And I’ll reflect on Ash Wednesday and ashes… and joy of Palm Sunday, the sorrow of Holy Thursday, the seeming loss of hope of Good Friday and the joy and light and color of Easter. I’ll sink into the grey of the ashes, and the way change that I always try to follow through Lent.
I could be so poetic today about the need to die to some things in order to allow new growth. About the difficulty of the unknown and how it tests trust in God. About how things in the past haven’t always turned out like I would have wanted and the realization that I’m not even sure what I want.
Instead, I’m heading out to walk and sit with my ashes and try to hear what they tell me.