well, thus far my simple lenten discipline has been incredibly difficult. It ought to be obvious that when you set out to do something simple, it will not be so. my discipline revolves around the term "one". Actually, the one day of fasting each week has been easy, and quite good, generally. I think I'll try to incorporate that on an ongoing basis. Mondays have been the day. I like the hunger, the bite in my gut, and the focus it provides both in terms of hunger for God and for a life that honors God's work of reconciliation in the midst of daily life.
However, the other two "one" items on my list, entail much harder effort. For starters, I don't like them. Who would? One helping of food or drink. One thing at a time at work or play. Like now. I'm playing with my daughter, Grace, listening to Oh, Gravity by Switchfoot, and trying to write this post about how lent is going. I've got to save this and come back later when I can do it honoring my discipline.
One of the most shocking things is how much silence enters my life when I do one thing at a time. That is because I almost always listen to music when I'm doing something else. While I was at St. John's Abbey a few weeks ago, one of the young monks at daily prayer gave thanks for the "fertility of silence that strengthens all our deeds." I suspect that was partly connected to the discipline of listening so deeply embedded in Benedictine life. I find myself more attuned to listening, to God and to myself, and certainly to others around me, as a result of my effort to do the "one" thing before me.
I perhaps have the most trouble driving. I love to listen to music, especially when I'm in the car. I have lots of cds with me in the car. I even at times sit at a stop light and quickly put on a song till the light turns green. I don't exactly know what it means to do this except that it is a focal practice, an effort to bring myself into sharpened clarity about what matters and who I am called to be. I am drawn to the silence, and it pulls me into deeper reflection that I usually allow myself on a daily basis.
More on this practice and its difficulties soon.
Anon, and peace,