It's that time of year when many of us who have stayed the course with resolutions desire nothing more than to falter. The time of year when goals are set for the lenten season, and all of a sudden we feel deprived. So many people feeling discouraged, stressed, run-down, defeated. On top of that, we in the northern hemisphere are in the midst of the coldest month of the year, and arguably the most depressing for many. It's a tough time of year, especially if you are trying to undergo a metamorphosis. When you seek to become better, faster, stronger, wiser, more able, more healthy, resistance will always follow. We are creatures of habit. Our habits are easy, they are convenient, they are comforting at a time when we most need that comfort.
The church I grew up in was always very clear on their views of lent. It was not a season to feel that "giving up" something should be identified as feeling deprived. Rather, they identified those 40 days as the perfect opportunity to cast aside thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and things that keep us from fully engaging with God. That this time is about spiritual abundance, and how much more valuable that is than any thing on this Earth.
I no longer practice my faith in the manner I was instructed as a child. I do not know what to call the space that I am in now. That is alright. And while I am certainly not practicing the act of going without something this year for lent, I find myself wondering why I am afraid of drawing nearer to a spiritual practice in which there is no room for hate, for fear, and all the room in a million Universes for love. Perhaps the concept of filling myself with so much love frightens me, because what do we do when people don't love back? How challenging is it to love those who wish to not be loved? What would I choose to give up, however difficult, in the quest for that kind of practice?
Who would I become? Would I become a person who believes in humanity? A person that believes we can solve issues through cooperation and greater understanding?
Would I become a person who knows their inherent value and worth, and loves herself freely and without reservation?
Oh, how I wish I had the answers to these questions, without having to embark on the journey first. I wish that I could see what that path held, and decide if I am brave enough to let my light out. I can't see it though. And therein lies the problem. How do I trust that I can do this?
I just have to believe.