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Archive for February, 2009

I wrote this reflection earlier in the week from my experience of Ash Wednesday. Enjoy:

Barry and I decided we would attend the Ash Wednesday service at the church we have been visiting. As time to leave for the service approached quickly, I thought of a ton of reasons we shouldn’t go. Internally, I thought all a few of these sounded pretty reasonable:

1. I’m tired. The truth is I haven’t been feeling well this week. I think it’s just allergies. There is something new blooming in the area. So basically, I should have bought stock in Kleenex this week. I’ve still been working and I find myself at the end of the day wanting to crawl up on the couch (with my tissues, of course!)
2. My Unit 2 final evaluation was due the next day. I hadn’t started it. Okay, I had started a little bit of it but not much. I really didn’t want to be up late reflecting, reflecting, reflecting.
3. It doesn’t feel like “our” church yet. Enough said.

I know my excuses are more about my grief than anything else in reality. It was the first time in six years that I had not been involved in the Ash Wednesday service with the people that I love at PBC. There is something wonderful and familiar about being able to begin a sacred journey together with folks you call “family”.
So, in an effort to continue to walk through my grief, I didn’t say anything to Barry. We went to church anyway.
We arrived and to my surprise the large sanctuary had been transformed into an intimate setting. There were candles lighting the darkness. The choir and participants were gathered on the chancel–sitting in the round. Barry and I quickly exchanged glances… we thought we would be sitting in the crowd, similar to Sunday mornings. How were we going to blend in? We weren’t.
It was small, intimate. Everyone was sitting close-shoulder to shoulder. It came time for to “Pass the Peace” when we acknowledge one another’s presence and say something like, “Peace of Christ to you.” and the other replies, “And also to you” while offering a hug or handshake.
“I don’t know these people” I kept thinking. Had Barry already scoped out an exit plan? “These people are hugging me? Really? Aren’t we close enough?”
As we sat back down in our seats, I was trying not to freak out. Focus. Focus. Breathe. Breathe. And then like a gift, I felt a hand embrace my shoulder and I realized it was coming from the woman behind me. I turned slightly towards her way and I heard words clearly, “Peace”.
The journey of Lent is about feeling vulnerable, getting intimate, almost freaking out and finding a solace in where you find your self. It’s the journey Jesus took and invites all of us to take together. We saw Jesus tempted by his weaknesses, yet he overcame them. He was intimate with his most trusted friends and followers, even the ones who would betray him.
He freaks out, okay maybe it’s not freaking out but he does ask if there is any other way possible.
But…. there’s not….. so thankfully he stays. He found peace in his journey.
I believe this journey is teaching me something special and specific in this place I find myself waking up.

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This week has been a new and different week for me. For the first time in my life, I had a migraine headache which was followed by a series of tension headaches. Ugh, waking up to headaches this week was not fun at all. One of my friends at work, a nurse practitioner, was quick to try to place my worries at ease by saying, “You know, women in their 30’s bodies are changing. It’s very natural for something to happen like this”. My response? “I’ve only been in my 30’s for less than a month… how does this happen??”
Seriously, after care from my wonderful husband and a visit to my doctor (and drugs), I am feeling better. I was reminded several times of my posting on Self Care from a few weeks ago. There are times in our lives where we have to slow down… our body teaches this practice and sometimes forces me to as it did this week.
So, take some time to be quiet this week. Stretch, pray, meditate, and listen to what your body is telling you.

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