Forget giving up sweets, alcohol, or caffeine. What about just giving up?
These are the moments when we are brought to our knees in utter despair, and if that happens not to be your current experience, Thanks Be To God. But don’t think you have zero responsibilities in light of your blessed contentment. On this day and every day, people have been spiritually obliterated by tornadoes, cancer, addiction, schizophrenia, poverty, personal betrayal, and random injustice that make thinking people want to holler.
Giving up specific food and drink choices is kids’ stuff. What if we want to give up? Period? (I’ve been there, to be perfectly honest. More than once.)
God works best when we have no other way out. When we already feel like dust because we’ve been wrecked, nobody needs to convince us that “we are dust and to dust we will return.” Our ashen faces and that burnt taste in our mouths have already informed us that the ash heap is where we live.
This is how many of us and our neighbors begin Lent today. And so we begin Day One of the Forty Days before Easter (not counting the Sundays) noticing things. We notice ashen faces. We notice the broken. We notice the perishing. We notice and we act accordingly. We offer what we can. We offer what might help.
Welcome to Lent. It’s a good time to give to those who have given up. And if you have given up, please contact me. Not kidding.
PS I’m reading There, There by Tommy Orange as part of my Lenten discipline because I’m fairly ignorant about the plight of Native people in this country. It’s a novel about human beings who give and human beings who give up. I definitely recommend it.