the last thing you could really call me lately is contemplative. i’ve been obsessed with winning a skydiving package (go here to vote! . . .sorry, had to plug it), dealing with high drama in the man department, exploring options for my next life adventure, and running like mad trying to get the next art exhibit set up.
all the while, Lent is passing me by.
Lent comes out of the Catholic tradition and so is, in very nature, meant to be a contemplative time, a cleansing and preparation for the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ. it is a time to reflect on our own death and rebirth. it is a season of deep introspection.
i’ve been attending a Lent-focused yoga series and our focus today was “new perspective.” as our instructor intimated, Lent is a time for taking inventory of life, identifying those things that no longer serve us, and letting them go. this is definitely a season of that for me, to the point where every direction i turn, there seems to be a new perspective on myself, a new confidence in how I was wired, a new way of believing in myself to make decisions i need to make.
one of these great revelations is that i’m bored.
i learned a little one never to utter these words in the presence of my parents. “if you can’t find something to do, I’ll give you something,” my parents would warn. and it was never good. like one of the recent episodes of my favorite show, Modern Family, i could easily find myself cleaning the cupboards or doing some other undesirable activity. so, i’ve learned to restrain my honesty in that area.
but i am. i am unchallenged in many areas of my life, especially vocationally and environmentally. i enjoy what i’m doing and LOVE my city, but still…i yearn for something bigger, for new experiences.
in my Lent reading for today, i came across this beautiful passage:
it’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. that’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.
-john 4:23, the message
the pursuit of truth.
what does this mean?
for me, it means not accepting the black & white, this is right/that is wrong response. it means testing the boundaries, trying something new, making mistakes. looking in unexpected places. putting my foot over the edge to see if there’s a path (catch the Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade reference??). being willing to get my hands dirty.
because the pursuit of truth is messy. and risky. and may involve some pain.
but it is so beautiful.
one of my favorite Jewish parables is told in the movie, Then She Found Me (fantastic movie). in fact, that’s where i heard. it goes as such:
There is a Jewish story, an ordinary Jewish joke. A father was teaching his little son to be less afraid, to have more courage by having him jump down the stairs.
He put his son on the second stair and said ‘jump and I will catch you’ then the third stair and said ‘jump and I will catch you’. The little boy was afraid but he trusted his father and did what he was told and jumped into his arms. The father put him on the next step and then the next each time telling him ‘jump and I will catch you’.
Then the boy jumped from a very high step but this time the father stepped back and the boy fell flat on his face. He picked himself up bleeding and crying and the father said to him ‘that’ll teach you’.
When his father caught him he felt filled with love and when he didn’t he was filled with something else, something more – Life.
during this Lent season, may you feel less afraid and more filled with courage to have new perspective. the pursue truth, in all its varied and complex forms. to climb to the tops of mountains and jump off. to allow yourself the space to be filled with Life.