With utter disregard for the traditions of the church I’ve started Lent today…one week late! I have a good reason for this…the book I ordered for my morning prayers during Lent has only just arrived, and rather than hurry the process of simplifying and re-ordering my life I’ve taken the decision to start as if today was Ash Wednesday, rather than quickly catching up by reading the days I missed.
I’m being guided through Lent by Paula Huston, a Benedictine oblate from America, using her book “Simplifying the Soul”. In her introduction, Paula speaks about her trips to the monastery to which she’s attached as a way to ‘re-calibrate’ her spiritual life, and free it from what she calls our ‘bondage to complexity”…I need some of that!
Every so often we seem to lose our spiritual way and, like Peter, we follow Jesus “at a distance”, with all the perils that entails, and it is, Paula suggests, only after our recalibration that we realise just how out of sight Jesus has become, and how far from the path we have strayed.
This week’s heading is: “Beginnings – simplifying space”. Each day gives a practical task, as well as a readings and a meditation…today’s task is ‘clean out a junk draw or cupboard’. Wendy and I have been doing a fair amount of this just lately, but I still think another look at my personal drawers and wardrobe would not go amiss.
It struck me that when I die, I’d rather that my legacy was a lot of shared memories, than a houseful of stuff to be picked over and shared out.
I think I’m also learning that sometimes (for me at least…you may be different) treasured items can tie us in an unhealthy way to times, places and events that are long gone (and should be consigned to history rather than constantly dragged up). Those same items also have the propensity to trip us up and tie us down as we try to move forward on life’s way.