A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Ash Wednesday 2019

ScottThePainterHeart
Image by artist, speaker, and ispirationalist (if that’s a thing, he’s it), Scott Erickson on Instagram.

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed how my reflections wax and wane depending on the seasons of the year and my life, but one constant has been my Lenten post, typically on Ash Wednesday. This year, I’m a day late and probably a dollar short, but I finally found something I wanted to say.

Despite my lack of posts in 2019, I’m not actually doing less reflecting these days. I’m just doing it less publicly and using less words, even in my own mind. Here’s my equation:

Less words = More silence

More silence = More space

More space = More room for the presence of my authentic Self and the Divine

A decade ago, I might have worried that I wasn’t spending enough time with my prayer journal writing to God, but what I know for sure at this point is that GOD KNOWS ALL THE THINGS — without me documenting them in Microsoft Word.

To be honest, in lots of ways my life just feels like Lent right now. I am juggling a lot of personal and professional responsibilities, trying to fulfill commitments I’ve made to myself and others. Though I maintain a lot of flexibility in my schedule, there is a lot less freedom than I’m used to, so habits of discipline, fasting, and self-denial are just a necessary part of my daily life. That feels good and right, but in no way do I feel called to pile more on for the sake of tradition.

This morning a friend shared with me this prayer by Jan Richardson, a (w)holy inspired poet and it’s all I want to remember in this season.

Rend Your Heart
A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

To receive this blessing,
all you have to do
is let your heart break.
Let it crack open.
Let it fall apart
so that you can see
its secret chambers,
the hidden spaces
where you have hesitated
to go.

 

Your entire life
is here, inscribed whole
upon your heart’s walls:
every path taken
or left behind,
every face you turned toward
or turned away,
every word spoken in love
or in rage,
every line of your life
you would prefer to leave
in shadow,
every story that shimmers
with treasures known
and those you have yet
to find.

 

It could take you days
to wander these rooms.
Forty, at least.

And so let this be
a season for wandering,
for trusting the breaking,
for tracing the rupture
that will return you

to the One who waits,
who watches,
who works within
the rending
to make your heart
whole.

From “The Painted Prayerbook” 

During this Lenten season, may you be blessed by the things that don’t feel like blessings. May they surprise you, shake you up, and set you on a path to heart-breaking love.

 

 

1 Comment

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  1. So good to hear your honest sharing, Ali. Jan’s prayer and the exquisite illustration are enough to keep us in quiet reflection for forty days and beyond. Thank you for your gifts. I pray for you and your beautiful family. Love from the Heart, Bev

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