Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do or do not, there is no try

I love the start of Lent. Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite services; going up to have the priest put the sign of the Cross on my forehead gives me chill bumps every time. It's one of the few religious activities I can count on to be emotionally meaningful every time. And as many have noted, the beginning of Lent is great because you feel all spiritual and shit and get a thrill from your penances/ devotions/ whatever you decided to do. It's beautiful in a clean, pristine way, kind of like snow. Sometimes you even get that cool blue skies and sunshine over thick snow.

And then it gets grim. The snow starts melting, and in the city it's just gross. There's nothing pretty about that devotion anymore, and the penance starts to feel like penance. Instead of freshly fallen snow, you get that chilly, icy rain when it's 34 degrees that the weather channel calls a "wintry mix."

So it was cool when I got to see tulips on my way to the Easter Vigil, even though I'm struggling to feel the whole "Easter joy" thing. Usually I'm Easter's biggest fan, mostly because I love spring and am wimpy about cold. This time around, it feels anticlimactic. Maybe it's because we're moving the third, not the last, week in May, and I'm scrambling to get a new job. Maybe it's because we've discovered that those experiences I had working at a rape crisis center are still haunting me, that I'm not "over it." Maybe it's because the therapist says "it will be a long haul," and dear Jesus we've already had a long haul. We're ready for this 4-year Lent in our lives to be over.

I don't have a pithy statement to wrap it all, make it flowers and sunshine and beauty. At this juncture, spring is a choice, not just something that happens around April and May. I can choose life, choose to pursue healing and growth with a vengeance, or I can give up and throw myself into the fires of Mount Doom while clutching the ring, my precious despair and pride. I can smell the flowers or cough up the ashes, gorge myself on animal fodder or relish the feast. There's nothing I can do to pull myself up by some non-existent bootstraps, but I can turn in the right direction and stubbornly crawl.

"But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to new strength. Sam's plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair no weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue."


  1. I can definitely understand the desire for the long Lent in your lives to be over. I've been there before. I may even still be there now.

    Good luck with the job searching and moving. I know how hectic that can be. I hope you're happy with whatever place y'all are moving to (and I hope it's not too cold!).

    And by the way, you get bonus points for including both a Star Wars quote and a Lord of the Rings quote in one blog post. Nicely done!

    1. I'm not giving all the details yet, but we're moving to Savannah GA! So psyched.

    2. Hey, that sounds pretty good! I imagine being back down South has you all kinds of excited. And Savannah, nice! We almost went there on vacation last summer, but ran out of time wandering around Charleston. I've heard it's lovely, though.

      Congrats to you and the hubby. :)