Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I live in Michigan and enjoy four seasons. I haven't always lived in a place with four distinct seasons--some parts of California have basically two, and in Atlanta there's a winter that would be considered spring here. I've written in the past how the weather takes me by surprise--"Snow? Really?", "Hey, where did those flowers come from?", and my personal favorite: "What, no jacket, gloves, hat and scarf plus four layers of clothing?"

Right now, spring is ambushing me. We turned off the heat, opened some windows and the sunshine is streaming in. A loud bird is singing non-stop on our deck. It's just about 60 degrees right now. My neighbors are taking walks past my window wearing light windbreakers or hooded sweatshirts. Some green thing is poking through the mulch in the garden. After lunch, I'm taking a walk to the store to get potting soil to get some tomato seeds planted indoors. This morning the spring cleaning bug bit me and I organized and cleaned our bedroom closet. Oh yeah, and we had to change all our clocks.

Easter is a week and a half from now. It seems too soon. Dennis has been observing a Lent of sorts--no meat on Fridays, fish only and limiting desserts to once or twice a week (big deal for him). We both grew up Catholic and had some exposure to the Lent disciplines. In grade school to high school, I don't remember ever sticking to any abstinence of anything, although I did try something one year as in no sweets or desserts, which wasn't a big deal because I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I don't think I succeeded, because whenever I think of Lent I think of feeling guilty that I didn't give up a luxury for Jesus. I came to a point of wondering if it really mattered to Him if I didn't eat meat on a Friday, or abstained from a tasty cookie when I remembered that I had decided on it. I did manage fasting during Good Fridays sometimes, and I attended some Ash Wednesday services when I was an older teen. Short term goals of any type were more reachable for me back then.

Because I wasn't time or calendar conscious before Lent, I had no plan or purpose to practice any spiritual discipline of self-denial or fasting. But Holy Week is around the corner, and I have an opportunity now to make a few decisions on how I pursue a deeper focus on Jesus Christ my Lord and the Gospel. Maybe this weekend's Magnify Conference at my church, University Reformed Church can give some ideas.

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