Monday, February 15, 2010

Lent, fasting, salvation and all that jazz

For me, redemption is an ongoing process of being freed from life's (little) entrapments.

I may never find it easy to disregard others' opinions but if I dwell on the fact that those opinions are not my god, especially when they feel most oppressive, their influence shall fall into its proper place.

I may always tend to fatalism but if I try (and allow others to try to help me) to develop an awareness that in most situations I face, I have the power to make them better and easier, the temptation to feel impotent and despondent will ease.

I may always be stressed out by those tasks that remain undone but if I persist in stepping away from the to do list on a regular basis, I hope to develop an outlook that says "I have worth, even if I achieve nothing today."

Little tasks and habits help: a day's pause before responding to a critical email; a phone call to someone who loves me whenever I feel small; a long lunchbreak on a hectic day. Simple stuff.

And most of the negatives are also positives. I value others, so listen to them and allow them to influence me. It's just that sometimes they become too influential. I recognise my limitations and so never behave like a control freak. It's just that sometimes I give up altogether. I am conscientious and can be trusted to get a job done. It's just that sometimes I decide that therein lies my value.

The stuff of life is rarely straightforward 'good' or 'bad'. It is a jumble. And when I read the bible, I don't see rules and doctrine. I see a miscellaneous collection of texts from different periods and cultures that, given full attention, makes wonderful sense of the jumble. Through earthy advice and an underlying message: there is only one god whose plan for you is fulfilment and prosperity - make time to look for him in amongst all the clamour.

That is what I am going to try to think about this Lent. And if that means giving up working hard, well, the Lord will convince my boss........ Ha ha!