Jabbok Dawn

Tumbling in the Sand

“Failing” at Lent: Day 2


Today, I have nothing much to report about “messing up” per se, so I thought I’d talk about my experience of busy-ness.  I noticed it today—especially this morning as I sat down to my devotional text from Hildegaard…

The practice that I’m using to explore the devotional text is Lectio Divina.  It is a way to pray the text through slow …  intentional … reading … and … savoring … of … each … word.  If you want to explore it some more, there is a pretty good article on Beliefnet here. Anyway, the process takes time—lots of still time—and lots of silence and centering.

Today, as I sat to do this in front of my computer screen (because it’s an online thing…), I was immediately bombarded with the overwhelming urge to do stuff:  to check FB, to see if anyone had sent me email, to read the news, to make lists of all I had to do today, to compose my reflection on the texts for Sunday….

My entire reflection time was spent batting these to-do items gently (or not so gently) away so that I could focus again on the text, on my breathing, on what God might be whispering to me.

I wonder how this will change over the course of 40 days.  I wonder if I will learn to be able to set aside the busy and sit quietly to listen for the breath of God.  I wonder if I will let God’s grace embrace me more in my stillness…

At the same time, I still wonder if I’ll ever get the list done! (Which, I made promptly over a cup of coffee today upon finishing my devotions.)  I wonder if I ever could be productive enough so that I could enter my day off (tomorrow) with nothing nagging at the back of my mind … or, worse yet, spilling over into the only day I take off in a week.

And maybe most importantly, I wonder what all the busy-ness is about.  I have my suspicions … a need to be needed, a need to feel productive (and therefore worthwhile), a need to perpetually know what is going on, thereby giving myself an illusion of control, a subtle and insane suspicion that things won’t go on just fine without me … and I’m sure there are other things too.

But, as I work on all of this and wonder about it all (all the while resisting the urge to pull up the FB tab with (3) new items to look at), tonight I can say that even if I don’t ever get really good at either setting aside my busy-ness to be still or become super-productive, there was still grace today.  Not in my devotions (well, ok, I did actually relax a bit into the breath and the air that “is alive,” which was grace) but rather in my “impossible” project of hanging up some banners (2x8ft) above 5ft plowed snow drifts on the side of a hill and in front of Salem.  There was lots of grace in that!

There was grace in the sunlight.  There was grace in falling into the snow and the thrill (or shock) of the sudden cold.  There was grace in the laughter.  There was grace in the company of my Admin. Assistant with her phone (in case she had to call 911) and her great running commentary … “Are you crazy?” … “What are you doing now?”  … “This would have been easier without the snow.” … “Well, they’ll be easier to take down after Easter.” … “You are nuts!” …  There was grace in the distracted drivers at the intersection (who kept getting honked at) who wondered what that crazy blonde was up to.  There was grace in the kind-of off-kilter signs that look sort of like a drunk spider hung them up.  And most of all, there was grace in knowing that those signs were very much perfect in their imperfection.


Featured Image “Imperfection” by artist/photographer Shinichi Maruyama.  Much of Shinichi’s work is inspired by wabisabi, the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.  Read more about it here:  “Can we find beauty in imperfection?”

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7 comments on ““Failing” at Lent: Day 2

  1. Ryan Toby
    February 15, 2013

    Outstanding article Lena…..I am right there with you on this. Thank you for your writings.


    Ryan Toby


  2. libeariandeb
    February 15, 2013

    Really nice article Lena! I thoroughly enjoyed it.


  3. Christa Slater
    February 16, 2013

    I read the article of Lectio Divania and plan to try that for my Lenten devotional time…I also get distracted by many things…thanks for sharing some moments of grace. Christa


    • jabbokdawn
      February 16, 2013

      Christa, you are quite welcome! I feel like Lectio might be more attainable for me than just plain old meditation because it provides a text to ponder on, which helps (but as you see, not perfectly). Thank God for grace! Blessings on your devotional time.


  4. Pingback: Failing at Lent: Day 1 « Jabbok Dawn

  5. Pingback: “Failing” at Lent: Day 3 « Jabbok Dawn

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This entry was posted on February 14, 2013 by in "Failing" Lent, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , .

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