I write to you on the eve of Lent, good old Ash Wednesday. I received a couple of emails after my last post so I think I should clarify whats going on.
I think that there are times in our lives where God calls us into a quite reflection. This is not a good or bad thing but rather a time period to sit back and take stock, sort of speak, of where I am in my life now and where I think I am going. I have honestly been hit the past couple of weeks by an emotional tidal-wave and I needed to unpack it and see how I can work with it. Well last Friday I got to officiate one of our "Black Friday" Evening Prayers and it was in that moment that I felt the Spirit coming upon me and re-energizing me. When we came to the personal intercessions, I said, "In thanksgiving for a renewed Spirit." I feel like I am on top of the world again. I am still not the bubbly person that I usually am but I have a clearer picture of what is going on in my life. I know that I am in the right place at the right time of my life. When I started the discernment process I was instructed to read a book called Listening Hearts in this book it talks about some of the signs of knowing if you are on the right path is that things seems to fall into place. I now have a writing coach to help me with my writing, I heard from Matthew about the wonderful people who have helped him recover from surgery, Lucy is feeling better after her surgery (well enough to destroy another one of my pillows) and I am being able to head to see my sister and my family in Arizona as well as taking a much needed vacation for Matthew and I in Las Vegas.
I have also been blessed to have many people step up in my life here in California to support me in ways that I could not imagine. Many times it is just someone saying Jason lets go for lunch you need to get out of here or someone realizing I have been spending way too much time on my Martin Luther paper and posting the 95 Theses on my door (Thanks AE You know who you are :-)) I feel that God sends people into our lives when we need them the most.
I have also been pondering about the future and what is laying in front of me. This summer I will be in a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program at United Hospital, next fall I will be getting my hands dirty and working in a parish here in California. I also get to start taking more electives in my course work to help me to get a broader experience of seminary.
The main thing that I feel I have learned from these last few weeks is that this is me growing more and more into who I am. This is not to say that I wont get down or upset ever again but rather each time this happen I am able to discern what is going on and see how to respond to it, if I need to.
As for Ash Wednesday, since I was small I used to love Ash Wednesday. I used to love to walk around with ashes on my head. It was this sign that helped me to remember that I was Christian and with this big black cross on my forehead there was no way of denying that. The other reason I loved this time of year was what the priest would say when they put the ashes on my head. Depending on the priest you got you would hear, "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel." or "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." The first saying for me is what we are charged with for our whole life not just Lent. We should turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. This is not to say that we will never sin but rather when we do we can turn and continue to live the Gospel. The Gospel calls us to live in Charity, Peace and Love. These are very simple messages that we can live our lives by. I think that many times people get so caught up in the who is right and who is wrong that often the messages of Charity, Peace and Love are forgotten.
So as I start my journey into Lent, I offer this as my Lenten discipline, I am going to keep a positive focus for the next 40 days. I can sit and keep worrying about things that I dont have answers to right now such as, how am I going to pay for this after I am done, will I have a job after seminary, or where will Matthew and I end up living after this is all over and live in these ambiguous questions or I can choose to see the positive in the experiences that I am having here. I am going to try to live the Gospel in my life and my challenge to you is to try and do the same, this Lent and after.
I ask you to please keep me in your prayers and know that I will be keeping you in mine.
I saw the cartoon below and realized that part of our Christian life is that we should laugh. So in good fashion I offer you the Ash Wednesday Carton below.
I wish you all a very Happy Lent Season! Happy Ash Wednesday.