Life on the edge
The world is on edge. Refugees, weather patterns, political maneuverings, pandemic puzzles and outright war.
I hear an invitation to look into the mirror and take stock of where I am in the middle of all this. The church calendar invites me to look inward. It also invites me to ‘give up’ something between the beginning of Lent and the celebration of Easter.
For most of my early life I gave things up routinely. I was taught to live frugally. My family didn’t have much money. In fact, they considered not having much money a virtue, though we were clearly better off than our neighbors living in colored town.
That was then. What about today? We’re in a mess of gigantic proportions. So what am I to give up for Lent that both challenges me, and brings me closer to others living in this world that’s seems to be spinning out of control?
Several years ago I posted a challenging prayer that fit the spirit of Lent. It challenged me as an individual. Not once, but many times. Today, it’s challenging me as a world citizen and follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Am I willing to live as an undocumented refugee? As part of a family broken up by war, lies, and powermongers?
Everything in me wants to rage, fight back, make sure I’m on the ‘right’ side, shout back at the TV news, and run for cover. Instead, this simple prayer invites me to take another approach.
I let go my desire for security and survival.
I let go my desire for esteem and affection.
I let go my desire for power and control.
I let go my desire to change the situation.
Quoted by Cynthia Bourgeault in Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, p. 147 (Cowley Publications 2004)
Will this solve everything? Of course not. It will, however, keep me centered. Not on myself, but on Jesus of Nazareth who showed and still shows me how to do this. One day at a time.
It also occurs to me that my life is the only thing I can ‘give away.’ But only if I’m not struggling to keep it and my privileges alive at any cost.
May our Creator have mercy on each and all of us.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 March 2022
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