Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Speed up. Slow down.

Back in my horse-crazy days, I rode this event called a Hunter Pace.  Basically it's a timed trail ride wherein the winning team is the one that crosses the finish line at closest to the ideal time.  Not the fastest or the slowest team but the team that rides the course the "best."  Slower speeds over rough terrain, faster speeds over smooth terrain.  You aren't told in advance what the ideal time is, though.  Instead you have to use your training, skills and intuition and then pray for an extra bit of luck in order to win.

It makes sense, then, that a person with a naturally anxious, quick horse would be working to keep him under check during much of the ride whereas someone riding a more laid-back mount would probably find themselves prodding and encouraging a lot during the course.  Two riders attempting the same feat by doing opposite things.

So.  Lent starts tomorrow.  Have you heard?  (<---joke.  Because Catholic blogs)
Often I get caught up in what's too much and what's too little to do to observe Lent.  What other people are going to think of what I give up, especially if it's something like, say, home renovations like I did that one year.  What the holier-than-me people are doing so I can do those things and be holier too.  As if the reason I'm still a sinner is that I just haven't found the right formula yet.  And someone else knows the formula, doncha know.  Where are they?!?!  Read all the things and try all the things until I finally find the REAL way to become perfect in the span of 47 days.  Yessssssssss!  Saved by the internet!

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1Kings 19:11-12

Sometimes it's hard to hear the gentle whisper among the great and powerful winds of denial at any cost.  Maybe that voice can be obscured by quakes of scrupulosity. And perhaps sometimes the fires of comparison can distract us from what God intends us to hear in the quiet of our hearts.

Though our goal is the same in the end, some people need more of what others need less of.  Some people need to do less of what someone else needs to do more of.

Obviously the ground rules are the same for all of us, but the reason the Church, in her wisdom, does not mandate anything specific beyond what is already provided is that we are all different.  What looks like a normal day for me might be a feat of enormous proportions for someone else.  What might be good for me to stop doing for the sake of my family might be the very thing that another person might need to take up for the good of hers.  The two of us traveling toward the same destination by doing completely opposite things. 

Less searching, more listening.  Less doubt, more faith.  Instead of thinking about what I'm going to do this Lent, let me think about what this Lent can do to me.

 post signature
Pin It


  1. This. "Instead of thinking about what I'm going to do this Lent, let me think about what this Lent can do to me." So great, Dwija.

  2. Very inspirational, and very much what I needed to hear, thank you!

  3. I've read A LOT of Lent posts today and I think this one is my favorite!!

  4. Exactly! The right thing to do is the thing that *you* should do, not the popular thing :)

  5. I love this! The Bible verse was perfect, but I especially love how you JFK'd Lent there at the end, because it is about opening up and letting go to let Jesus work in your life, not about being miserable :-) Thank you!

  6. Just the Lenten encouragement I needed. Thanks, Dwija.

  7. Very well said! I needed to hear that. Thank you Dwija!

  8. So, yeah.

    Sometimes I think you're in my head. Which is kinda creepy. But true.

    Wanna know what I'm giving up for Lent? My snooze button. But I've been embarrassed to tell people that when they ask, so I throw in "chocolate" or "Starbucks" for good measure whenever someone asks me. But my snooze button is a definite problem. And I need to get on top of it. So, yeah, snooze button it is.

    I needed to read this today. Thanks for JFK'ing Lent for me. ;)

    1. Giving up the snooze button would be insanely hard for me! I'm impressed!!

  9. Oh my word, but I needed to read this today. The struggle for me is always to figure out what I truly NEED to do for Lent. Not what shape I want my body to be in in 47 days, nor what my pride wants me to put in my blog or Facebook status. Just me and my own little soul: what do *I* need? So thanks for the reminder.

    Also, that is one of my favorite scriptures ever. Proof: http://californiatokorea.com/faith/tiny-whispering-sound

  10. I have never heard of a Hunter pace (which sounds fascinating and like quite the enjoyable event), what an insightful comparison with individual Lenten journeys. We needn't get crinks in our necks straining to see what others are up to, but just focus on the prize. Thanks for this!

  11. Amen. Oh, I so needed this! Thanks Dwija.

  12. "Less doubt, more faith" <-- this for me!!

  13. Ah, I love this post! Wonderful, helpful analogy, thank you.

    Also, this part made me chuckle: "Lent starts tomorrow. Have you heard? (<---joke. Because Catholic blogs)
    -yes we tend to overdo it a bit, don't we? ;)

  14. You are an endlessly interesting person, Dwija. I love the trail riding analogy.
    Because I'm not a hugely competitive person, I haven't often fallen into the trap of comparing myself to others (a grace, but one I take no personal credit for). HOWEVER, I am consistently hard on myself compared to *myself* in the past or the present or whatever. Last year I had such a spiritually fruitful Lent and Easter...it was like a little glimmer of heaven. This year, I would like to perpetually fall into a dark hole and never reemerge....so...I'm having to go easy on myself. Which makes me feel like a looser. So, this post is much appreciated! Beautifully written!

  15. I love this! I read this post over here (http://blog.holyheroes.com/want-give/) last week, and it prompted some very fruitful prayer time. I realized the "desert God is calling me into this Lent" is not what I would have thought. But it's absolutely what I need to be a better person around my kids. So glad I stopped a second to stop thinking about what I wanted to do and spent a few minutes hearing what God was asking me to do.

  16. Yes, yes, yes! I'm doing some odd things this year, but ones that are what I think I am being directed to do. But I was thinking, "They don't seem haaaaarrd enough!" Thanks for the Hunter's Pace analogy . . . I am not a horse person, so I appreciate that perfect illustration.

  17. Not only is everyone different, but we need different things at different times. I LOVE your last line, because I really feel like that's kind of what I'm in for this year. I really didn't feel that my standard Lenten observances were the thing this year for a couple of different reasons. So I'm just waiting to see where this all ends up.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Just love you, Dwija. Move thee to Texas.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...