Is this to be my lot in 2012…. once a month blogging? I hope not.
Lent starts this week. And I have decided to participate this year. A group at our church (a non denominational church) decided to host a 40 day fast and prayer time for Lent this year. Specifically, its a call to pray for, learn about and be mindful of social justice issues in our world and communities today. They asked us to “fast” from something, to give up something valuable during this season and spend more time focussing on praying about and learning about these issues. They gave us a bracelet to be a daily reminder to do just this. As I was thinking about what to fast from, what valuable thing in my life to give up during this season, one word kept creeping into my mind, even as I desperately tried to keep it out - facebook.
Fact: i love facebook. i love reconnecting to various groups and individuals from all spheres of my present and past life. i enjoy facebook and posting silly status updates.
Fact: facebook is not evil.
Fact: facebook is the agent through which i often end up wasting many valuable minutes and even hours of my days. yes, that is my issue, not facebook’s issue. but if getting off facebook will allow me to address my issues of wasting time, self medicating via social media etc…. then i need to get off facebook for a season.
And so it is that I will be giving up Facebook during this season. (Well, I will be giving up my personal Facebook time, not my business Facebook.)
Why Lent? My theology doesn’t line up with the traditional way of looking at and participating in Lent…. But fasting from something, even if only for the self-discipline of it, is a worthwhile pursuit… especially for someone like me, who lacks even the trace amounts of self-discipline. Denying myself something I want (to do) goes so painfully against the grain of my cultural norm these days. The culture I live in almost demands instant gratification at every moment of every day. Not that I have to give in… that’s my own weakness… just stating a fact about the outside pressure of my culture. Its intense and its difficult to swim upstream in any sense of the word. So, this year, this Lenten season… I am looking forward to doing something quite counter cultural…. denying myself something I have 24/7 access to and no reason not to access it. I am training myself to say no, just because its GOOD for me to say no to myself and my desires at times. And more importantly, I am transferring a bit of that self-indulgence, self-focus and self-gratification to something way more worth my time, energy and focus – justice. mercy. compassion.grace. freedom. transformation. These are the issues at stake in the social justice issues of our day. And thankfully, a group at my church is ready to support and guide me through this season with daily devotionals, prayer points and information.
I am not sharing this to tell you that YOU should give up facebook, chocolate or TV… or even that you should participate in Lent. I am just sharing this as a way to keep myself accountable. And to explain why 1.) i won’t be responding to you if you are trying to contact me via facebook, 2.) why i will most likely get caught up on blogging and other personal projects, and 3.) why some of you may even hear from me via phone or email rather than social media. It will be a good time. call or email me. or text.
I have been thinking, more often than I realized, about a disturbing article I read the other day. Here is the link.
Its heartbreaking. This is happening in our country, in our neighborhoods (and yes, it happens in middle class neighborhoods as well as lower class ones).
I keep coming back to the thought, “what would I do if I saw that girl outside her house digging in her own trash looking for food.” what would I do if i heard her parents, yet again, screaming and thrashing at her inside the house. neighbors HEARD this… many times. neighbors saw her. many times. if i read correctly, a couple of people called the authorities only a couple of times. and presumably no one actually tried to help her, until she was rescued. SIX YEARS of living in this neighborhood, being abused and treated like this… and no one did anything. you can’t tell me they didn’t know.
I keep thinking this reminds me so much of the Good Samaritan story in the Bible…. there really are people who see obvious pain and suffering and evil, but because the hurt person doesn’t register as someone that is a.) a cultural, ethnic or religious fit for them, or b.) isn’t worth the time it would take to actually stop and help or infuse themselves into their pain and suffering. how often does our own sense of importance or our own agenda prevent us from really SEEING the pain and suffering that may be going on right beneath our noses?
So what would I do? How would I respond? I hope to God that no child on my street would even endure a hell like that. Not that we should recklessly jump to conclusions or be hyper judgemental, but maybe strive to be more aware of our surroundings? Maybe create more space in our days to allow time to stop and see and respond if need be? Maybe be mindful of how much I think about myself, my agenda and my sense of importance… and more importantly, how much that distracts me from seeing my community and the people in it?
I don’t know. It just really disturbs me to think that this poor girl made eye contact with people… for six years and no one saw the pain. or if they did see the pain, they didn’t care enough to help. I don’t want to be the Priest or Levite in the parable. I want to be the foreigner, the outsider, that is wiling to give up time, money and sweat to value someone else’s suffering more than my own agenda and comfort level. But in reality, most of the time I too cross to the other side of the road and hurry on to whatever it is that I am inevitably hurrying to.
on a lighter note…. we had a lovely, intimate baby shower for my dear neighbor-friend, Fleur. she is due with baby #2 soon and this one is a boy. it was fun to have an occasion where i could actually DO one of the gazillions of pinterest ideas i pin. i grabbed some 5+ year old scrapbook paper with masculine colors and some random pieces of felt, printed off a tie pattern, and cut out these little babies to decorate with at the shower. so cute, no??! and the cool thing is that Fleur can reuse the decor for baby’s room, as well.
yuuuum! and the eggs? yup, they are local… as in backyard of a neighbor local. awesomeness.
in lieu of traditional baby gifts at the shower, we opted for another pinterest inspired idea… the alphabet wall. O M G! what fun!! seriously, i am going to suggest this for every shower here on out. so fun, creative, practical and artistic. you can go so many directions with this… various themes, sizes etc.
last but not least…. leap year! what will YOU do with this extra day?
i hadn’t even thought about it until i saw this video:
makes you think, huh?!