Thank you all for the generous, loving letters you have sent me last week. I was really worried about what you all thought of the blog, and now I have a much better idea. So, thank you.
One of the things you told me was that you’d like to hear about the spiritual connection. And this is the perfect week for that – Wednesday this week is Ash Wednesday; a sacred time for Christians, the beginning of the season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is commonly called a day of repentance, when Christians confess their sins and express their devotion to God. This reminds us of our mortality and our need for reconciliation with God and others. Stories about Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness for 40 days have always made me want to settle down, find a quiet place and look at myself – who am I? Where am I going? What is my purpose in life? How close is that to what I think God wants from me?
Anyone hear a few “steps” in this?
The forty days of Lent that follow are supposed to be filled with fasting, prayer, and reflection…. instead of fasting from particular foods, many of us use this time to foster simplicity and self-control, setting aside things like social media or games, or by committing to specific daily prayer, or helping at homeless shelters, or other acts of kindness. The focus needs to be on humility, prayer, and penance. Repentance, fasting, prayer and celebration.
So many times, people have said to me about abstinence, “I just cannot IMAGINE doing that for the rest of my life!” My response usually is, “Could you do it for 30 days? 40 days? 60 days? 90 days?” So often our fear is about our own strength and power; the answer is reliance on the strength and power of other people and a Higher Power.
There are many devotional prayerbooks out there; you could choose a Lenten one or one you like, and decide to read it every day. And maybe if you were really ambitious, to write a one sentence reply. Try it for yourself.
If you aren’t into devotionals, pick a healthy thing to do daily – one that takes less than five minutes – one that is easy to do – and set it up where you cannot miss seeing it each day. Or decide to do one good thing each day. It could be a prayer, a sweet snuggle for a child, a yes sir to your boss, letting that car come into your lane in front of you, a hug for your hubby, a prayer. Just one good thing.
Make this easy, silly, fun and let the spiritual nature of doing this for forty days overwhelm your thoughts. Let the thoughts of forgiveness, prayer and humility fill your mind and heart, and let your conversations with your Higher Power grow from this.
Do whatever fits with your belief system and your recovery needs. Please don’t let anything I have said here turn you away from what will work for you.
When I was a child, there was a prayer we were taught for Wednesday and the next forty days. It is:
“God, may Your light guide my day, and Your spirit bring me peace. Amen.”
I wish you light and joy and peace; repentance, humility, prayer; recovery, joy and celebration.
Blessings to you,