lenten begins

Lent has never really been something that has appeared on my spiritual life radar much.

My dad grew up in the Presbyterian church (in NY state) and so when we visited my grandparents one year (perhaps march break) I remember helping my grandma serve Lenten luncheons at her church. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved serving people (pretending to be a waitress) and I got to have my own little plate at the end of the day and eat with all the ‘dressed up’ ladies.

my friend is studying to be a United church pastor, and she often informs me about the ‘ways’ of the mainline church. She also informs me about the reading ‘schedule’ that many of those churches follow for the church calendar, which is a wonderful way of being introduced to similar ideas throughout the year and yet continues to delve deep into the Lord’s word.

so this year I decided I needed to do something different. alot of the blogs that I read had been mentioning Lent and I was particularly struck by Margaret Fienburg‘s statement:

Originally, Lent was designed as a time of preparation and worship for the believer. The forty days before Easter were set aside for penitence, prayer, and self-denial….But maybe the question we need to ask as we enter Lent isn’t, “What are you giving up for Lent?” as much as “What do you want to lay hold of during Lent?”  The wonders of God are waiting for you during Lent. This season is laced with opportunity that will stir your hunger to know God more. How will you lay hold of the wonders of Lent? Beginning on February 13, we have the opportunity to spend 40 days passionately pursuing God. How will you choose to seek God during this time? What expressions will your desire for God take? What do you want to lay hold of in greater measure through Lent?

When I begin something that I’m really excited about there is always the tendency to want to get it right. I mean do it the right way the first time. I’m all about perfection, i know, something that I’m still working through. And so in some sense I think that part of the giving up, besides an actual physical think that I will notice missing in my life (facebook) that perhaps it will also include a surrendering of the desire to be perfect, to do things perfect and to just BE and to just learn…and while that probably looks messy, there is no idea of striving for perfection in reflecting on our Lord’s journey towards the cross, that perhaps this will refresh my heart in its desire to know that there is a fallen-ness that is only redeemed through the beauty and horror of Easter’s celebration and mourning previous to the Lord’s resurrection.

she further states: take some time today to ask God what He’s calling you toward. and to me there is quiet in this. Staying quiet and listening are to things that I have a hard time doing. I know that to be a good friend that listening to hear what people are truly saying (not just their words) is an important thing. And I’m not too fond of silence, for some reason I often feel the need to fill up the space with words. But sometimes I find that I’m so busy talking at God that I don’t have time to stop and listen to Him. and then I wonder why it seems that its been so long since He and I last communicated in a way that I thought I began to even understand where He’s coming from.

some other thoughts that I’m reflecting on today:

Consolation of Mirth’s Ash Wednesday poem:

The ancient ash marks a weary brow.
This is not shame but blessing.
Line on line a simple cross;
Marked as one of God’s own. […]
Throw off the coverings.
They weigh you down.
Dust swirls in the light.
To dust, to dust, to dust…
you shall return.
We buckle under the weight,
and forget the blessing;
The miracle of what God can do
with the old dust.
Where the cosmos was gathered.
God-breathed, man-born.

and from Common Prayer:

O Love that keeps the heavens turning : draw us to you in all our yearnings.

a good reminder:

…so rare to have the opportunity to be intentional about seeking the Lord.

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the wonder of it all

Aside

I see you standing there
lost in the moment
that for you lies
just beyond the window pane.
Your innocence
reminds me
that the world hasn’t always been
seen through jaded eyes.
There is still wonder in everyday objects
seen for the first time,
moments that fill you with wonder.
These things don’t cause me
to stop and notice any more.
I’m too busy ‘doing’ life
to stop and just be part of it.
I listen as you talk away
in your own little language,
telling me of those things
that bring such wonder
to your heart and soul.
I begin to wonder,
at what moment
did my heart become so cynical
that sometimes even a sunrise fails
to capture my attention
as worthy of awe.
I wonder
when this creation
of mind blowing proportion
begins to settle
into just merely being commonplace for me.
Its in the stopping
in the wonder of the moment
in seeing things
with fresh eyes
new eyes
un-jaded eyes
that the world is seen
truly seen
the wonder of it all.

by Janel Andrews Written Feb 7/2013

spoken word = see me not see me

this spoken word totally hit me between the eyes and kept be reeling…i’m saving the words here cause i don’t want to just hear them and not remember…they are part of my heartbeat.

I want you to love me

I want you to love me.

No really, I want each and every one of you to love me.

I want you to buy what I’m selling.

I want everyone around me to see what I want them to see 

And I simultaneously want them to see me and not see me. 

I want you to see how great I am but I don’t want you to see me weak.

I want vulnerability. But I want it on my own terms, 

Administered in small doses not big enough to scare me or make me feel exposed. 

I want control. And I want you to love me.

I want the truth to be sexy.

I want people to listen to me when I speak 

Even though I know most will walk away and reject me.

I want you to buy what I’m selling.

I want everyone to believe that their words don’t hurt me. 

That I have an umbrella for unkind remarks 

And they just drip down to the ground around me 

And I don’t lay awake at night thinking about how

Some guy told me “no one will ever love you because of what you believe.”

I want vulnerability—God, I need it! 

But every time I’ve tried it I’ve been betrayed by it 

And I’m starting to wonder if it’s a good idea after all. 

But I still want you to love me.

No really, I want each and every one of you to love me.

I don’t even really want you to know me, 

I just want you to know the me that I show you 

And I want to show you the me that’s brave enough

To get behind this microphone and show you myself.

But sometimes I don’t even know myself 

And you can’t show someone something you don’t know. 

And I want to show you how strong I am!

And how thick my skin is and how

I don’t lay awake at night thinking about how

Some guy told me he wished I was pretty, cause then he would be with me.

I forgot all about that.

But I want you to love me.

I want you to prove wrong every person that’s ever left me 

And I know that’s a lot of pressure to put on you and I’m sorry.

But you are all gods to me and I need you to come through for me.

I’ll worship you if you worship me, 

Cause if somebody doesn’t approve of me 

Then I don’t know who I am, 

And half the time I don’t know who I am. 

But I still want you to love me.

And I want vulnerability.

And I want you to buy what I’m selling.

But I am selling nothing dressed up as something.

I am selling an empty shell of who I really am 

Because who I really am is too scared to show you myself. 

And sometimes I don’t even know myself

And I start to believe all the lies I’ve been telling everyone else

About how strong I am

And how I don’t lay awake at night thinking about

How I don’t lay awake at night thinking about 

How many different times I have been made to feel that 

Who I really am is not enough or too much. 

But I know if you don’t know me then it’s not really love. 

And I want you to love me.

No really, I want each and every one of you to love me

And I want you to know me for who God made me to be. 

And he made me to be something I’m still learning to be ok with 

And I hope that’s ok with you.

I hope the back and forth I put you through isn’t too much for you

And I hope you stick it out with me if I stick it out with you. 

Cause I want vulnerability. 

I want you to know me and I want to know myself 

Enough to get behind this microphone and show you myself.

And sometimes I still don’t know myself

But I am myself because you are yourself and God is himself 

And we are all connected to everybody else— 

We are images of God trapped in these shells 

Trying so hard to show ourselves to somebody else 

And hoping it doesn’t backfire.

And every time it backfires we do it again and again and again

Because that is what it means to be human: 

To trust that showing you who I am is worth the risk. 

And I hope it is.

credits

from Dichotomized, released 01 February 2013 by emilyjoypoetry.com

The Light has come, do not give up Hope

There are two things that inspire my Imperfect Prose today.

This quote”We are living in a very dark world but the candle reminds us that darkness cannot extinguish the tiniest flame. Darkness has no breathe.” – Glennon

 and today’s memorial post by my dear friend Joy about her dear son she lost during pregnancy.

The Light Has Come, Do Not Give Up Hope

The burnished glow of sunrise catches my eye
squinting in day’s first blush
the dew sends sunbeam slivers earth arcing
the illuminated flowers gathering round begin to sway
a cacophony of movement as the day springs forth
their unabashed proclamation of colour  shocking
bursting into my desire for monochromatic feeling.
Little blooms, do you not know
that the dew that streams from your petals
are tear-drops pouring out my heart
that the wind causing you to dance
is the rhythm of my sobbing gasps
that the very soil in which you dig your roots
cries out in pain mirroring my broken body
this lament, this breakdown, this agony
seem to hold my every breathe in suspension
as the light of hope wavers at the periphery
sorrow obscuring my vision
my shattered heart in pieces
unravelling with every breathe
my weakened state warrents a hard fought battle
I will not succumb to the lure of silent darkness
A whisper in my ear, soft until it resounds
‘the Light has come, do not give up hope’
Past teaching echoed in my head
light revealed to once dark eyes
was not to bushel hide but rather
radiate brightly from the heart space
full tilt into another’s sorrow
something within has changed,
where my heart had once radiated such warmth
now a broken and shattered vessel lies
instead of hope’s illumination beaming forth
it began to confidently confront the shadows
advancing through the dark
one incandescent step of radiance at a time
this stardust filtered through my cracks
igniting for a moment fireflies in symphony
uniting to begin a transformation of healing
as their brilliance intensifies
darkness is banished to its intended destiny
challenging its last foray with
‘you have no breathe to stem the tide of hope’
and then the light, with new breathe
begins to push hope outward through the healing scars.

by Janel Andrews written Jan 31/2013