Finding the “Pause” Button…

February 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm (Faith) (, , )

A couple of days ago, I posted on Facebook that I wished I could find the pause button. I was wishing I could have an extra day or two with no obligations, not to get everything on my “to do” list done, but to recharge. I was remembering life pre-kids, when it wasn’t unheard of for my husband and me to have a vacation together, or for me to have a day at the spa, or even just an afternoon at the movies.  I wanted, in the midst of our busy lives, a moment.  A breath.  A pause.

And now here we are again on Ash Wednesday, (also known as the day of my annual blog post) and Father’s homily at mass this morning made me realize that Lent is that pause button I was looking for.

Now I realize that for most people “day at the spa” is not the first thing we think of when we think of Lent. We think of ashes, and fasting, and giving up candy or something like that. And that’s not wrong, of course.  But if Lent is only that, I think we might be missing the forest for the trees. Why do we do all of that stuff?  Well, we’re told to, of course; during the season of Lent, we’re supposed to pray more, fast, and give alms.  That’s pretty clear.  But why?  “Because I said so…” doesn’t really work on my kids and frankly, it doesn’t really work on me.  I think ultimately, by fasting and giving something up, we’re trying to create a little space in our hearts…a little more room for God, for love, and for each other.

We sang “Again We Keep This Solemn Fast” this morning. My favorite verse is the third:

More sparing, therefore, let us make

The words we speak, the food we take,

Our sleep, our laughter, ev’ry sense;

Learn peace through holy penitence.

As I get older, I’m not so sure that denying ourselves is the point; rather it’s the tool that permits us to find some more peace and love in our hearts.  I’ve got myriad bad habits and distractions I could choose to give up this Lent, and an equal number of important things I should be doing that I’m not.  Rather than pick one of each, I’m going to try to do it all.  I’m seizing this chance to pause…this gift of 40 days to be “more sparing” and focus on what’s important.  I’m pretty excited about it actually, more excited than I would be for a day at the spa.  Don’t tell my husband though.  Valentine’s Day is tomorrow after all.

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