Lenten Reflections

Right in the middle of this Lenten season, we find ourselves confronted with requests for self-denial in the midst of a lot of unanswered questions and when our instincts for self-preservation tell us to buy up all of the milk, bread, and eggs. Much of what many of us have been asked to sacrifice might not be considered much of a sacrifice by others, and yet, what is being sacrificed is revealing a great deal regarding what we, generally speaking, depend upon—socially, economically, maybe even, for good or ill, psychologically and spiritually. How does it feel to tell ourselves no, even in regards to the non-essentials? Do we feel threatened? Cheated? Do we feel the need to maybe, announce it a little? To pat ourselves on the back because we aren’t doing this for ourselves but for those who are more vulnerable? Or at least reward ourselves through what seems a smaller indulgence? A way to cope? During this Lenten season, I know I’ve been tempted to “give myself a break.” A mini “Fat Tuesday” of sorts. And a break from what, really? From being reminded of my own mortality and that of those around me? From unconsciously excusing myself for wanting to indulge in comfort food because I’m not as bad as the person I saw in the parking-lot with the entire back seat of a car filled with toilet paper? Or the people who hoarded $18,000 worth of hand sanitizer? Perhaps I’ve actually been tempted to shut myself up in my room with my own hedonism?

A Call to More Play (Spring 2015*)

For me, childhood outdoor memories include climbing a dogwood tree and flinching when I felt a caterpillar crawl across my hand, running barefoot through the hay field that was still wet and warm with dew and humidity, and picking and eating June apples with a little red headed girl from across the street. Most summer and autumn days we pretended we were characters from whatever book we were reading, spinning stories as we explored our backyards. We weren’t rushed, and we were free to explore and create out of enjoyment.

Three Reasons to Still Read as a Family (2014*)

I remember sitting in my dad’s lap while he read this little book called The Little Taxi that Hurried. No one can read that book like my dad. One of these differences has to do with sound effects. Only Dad can make that taxi honk properly. Thankfully, I have five younger brothers and a sister, so dad hasn’t stopped reading The Little Taxi that Hurried. In fact, everyone crowds in the living room when he reads to the younger kids.

The Last One Out

Last week I chaperoned a ninth-grade retreat at Doe River Gorge. As the last post indicated, this wasn’t the first time I’ve spent a couple of days zip-lining, hiking, and rappelling with high school students. Many of the activities were familiar, and it had been a couple of years since my last visit, but my initial intentions were to get to know a completely new group of students and fellow faculty. Still, the familiarity (and a reawakened love of the woods initially instilled by my grandma) fueled my anticipation for activities that my at once old and new boss had lined up for us to do. One was the famous (and aforementioned in the previous post) bonfire and night hike.