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On Cheating.

On Cheating.

I’m a cheater. Or a backslider. Or a relapser. Or maybe just a mistake-maker, or an expert starter-over.

So far, my addiction to sugar seems to be gone, or at least seriously diminished. I’m not craving sugar, but when it’s right in my face there’s still a possibility that it’ll go right into my mouth.

Confessions: On Friday morning I needed to be ready for an 11:00 funeral and finish up the church newsletter. Two things of almost equal importance. (Multi-tasking is overrated, if not completely fictitious. Who among us really does more than one thing at a time? We just try to do too many things in rapid sequence and call it “multi-tasking,” when often the more appropriate appellation is “insanity.”)

When my Mac completely froze and I hadn’t saved for the past 30 minutes, I was beside myself. Out of my mind. Certainly not present! So when I stomped off to take a break and passed the remains of some cake in the dining room (leftovers given to my son and granddaughter, who had visited for a week) I grabbed some and gobbled it down. Frustration. Anxiety. Panic, even.

On Saturday I was at a 6-hour program on strategic planning, with piles of bagels and donuts provided. During the fifth hour I felt I would fall asleep any minute, or more likely die from inactivity and tedium (good program, but still too long), and I ate a donut filled with Bavarian cream. It may have saved my life. At least I can claim with certainty that I didn’t die of torpor.

These incidents don’t negate my fast; I just have to start all over again at that moment. I’m glad to say that I didn’t take the “screw it, I blew it so I’ll just go crazy and start again tomorrow” approach. It’s not a matter of the fast “working” or “not working.” It’s practice. It’s asking God to help me break the bonds of sugar addiction, or anything that acts as a continual pull from self-remembrance.

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Lent Reading I

Lent Reading I

March 13, 2014

“Our ability to understand resurrection, our experience of both a personal Easter as well as the Easter of Christ, is shaped by our stance toward life and what it brings our way. Herein lies the purpose of Lent. Whether it is imposed by circumstances or chosen through spiritual discipline, Lent is about nurturing a posture that holds all things lightly, that ensures that our passions are subject to us and not the other way around.” Pennoyer, Greg & Gregory Wolfe, ed., God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter, Paraclete Press, Brewster, Massachusetts, 2014, p. x.

Nurturing “a posture that holds all things lightly,” ensuring “that our passions are subject to us and not the other way around” — these describe the focus and purpose of Lenten practices as well as any description I know of.

I discovered God For Us just a week or so ago through the BookNotes Blog of my very favorite bookstore (a shout out to http://www.heartsandmindsbooks.com/ — Hi, Byron and Beth!), and it’s the best book of meditations for Lent I’ve ever used. The book is designed exceptionally well, with tons of great art to contemplate as you read the meditations. This is an excellent idea for those of us who tend to have far too many words bouncing around in our skulls and can benefit from an exercise of quiet, non-linear resting in the beauty of images.