Today, I was thinking that I do not keep up on this blog often enough. However, on any given day my life is so full of things to do. It is a wonderful blessing to have such a life that is so full that it can hardly all be done. When my mind is full of thoughts to share there isn’t a moment to sit down and share it; and when there is a moment to sit and share, I am too exhausted to remember the things worth sharing.
Perhaps, during Great Lent I ought to devote some time pondering great and Holy things. Then spend a little time sharing great and Holy things. My fellow blogger friend, Kayleen (http://whenkayleengrowsup.blogspot.com/), shared about her Lenten journeys and that she was reading Great Lent: Journey to Pascha by Alexander Schmemann. This excited me because my husband recently read Schmemann’s book For the Life of the World and shared some enlightening notions with me. I purchased the book on Amazon this weekend and hopefully in a week, we will be joining in the Schmemann “journey to Pascha.”
In the same vain, I wish to share some significant Lenten sacrifices that took me down new avenues in life…
Freshmen year of high school I “gave up” soda pop. I was surely addicted. I drank at least three a day. This sacrifice was great for me, but did not remind me to pray and be holy near as much as it ought. I was only just discovering responsibility for my own faith. I never went back to drinking soda pop and this gave me confidence to seek other goods in life.
Freshman year of college I gave up looking in the mirror for Lent. This was to squelch my vanity. I found myself falling to peer pressure, often desiring more beautiful physical appearance. It was hard. Especially when I had an interview and had to put on makeup without a mirror. In any case, the fruits were great. I only had the beauty of my inner-most parts to reflect upon people as I had no idea what my outer-most parts were reflecting. Do not misunderstand, I cared for my appearance as usual. But, I spent less time on my overall appearance by not spending any time in the mirror judging whether it was good enough. This loss of vanity remains almost as strong today as I brush aside my gray hairs knowing vanity will never cover them.
The first year I fully participated in the Eastern tradition of Great Fast, I was astonished at all the deprivations of the East. The reminders to be Holy were almost every moment. This filled my soul so greatly with life. This was the first time in my life I felt I could truly be selfless and be a true servant. Again, the fruits were great. By Easter these fruits were tangible as we learned we would have a child. This is something neither my husband nor I could not have fathomed at the beginning of the Fast. How great is the Holy Spirit.
Since then, I have been pregnant or nursing each Lenten season and have done my best to partake in Great Fast in whatever ways I can. However, I have come to find that nothing moves the soul like great deprivation. It is harder to deprive oneself when food is so vital to sustain the lives of infants. Hopefully, this Great Fast will be as fruitful as those of the past.
It is amazing how much we missed meat and dairy after just one week. We indulged in our Sunday feast today. The meal of sausage and veggies with cream sauce tasted very luxurious. Every morsel tasted of blessings. How fortunate we felt to partake. We felt far removed from those who truly suffer. What a terrifying earthquake and tsunami that occurred a couple of days ago. Our little deprivations hardly seem enough and now we hope with baited breath that no more tragedy befalls the nation of Japan.
What journey will the Holy Spirit send us on this fasting season?