Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lenten Discipline Progress Report: Week 1

First, the good news.  I am reading my way through Henri Nouwen's Show Me the Way:  Readings for Each Day of Lent.  I read it after I read the morning prayers in Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours.  It fits nicely with a daily discipline that I already follow.

However, this pilgrim is not doing well with her plan to color on sheets that give me a circle or a square for each day of Lent.  The spaces are too small, and my markers have too broad a stroke.

And frankly, adding another daily discipline to my life--in retrospect, I'm seeing the error of this plan.  But I would like to play more with color and markers.  Should I go to the store and get the perfect notebook?  The one that I have that I'm using as my weekly journal that keeps up with my goals and progress--I'd like something like that.

But do I really need to go to the store?

So, I have returned to the arts and crafts bookcase, and sure enough, I have some old sketchbooks.  They feel almost too big, but maybe the 6 x 8 sheets will be a good antidote to the too-small circles and squares.

The other problem I have with restrictive daily disciplines is that they may edge out the serendipitous discoveries that could come my way.  I had no plans to read The Fellowship:  the Literary Lives of the Inklings  by Carol Zaleski and Philip Zaleski as part of my Lent.  But it's a wonderful Lenten journey.  It's about the literary and spiritual lives of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and their circles.

I find it curious that I can read this book and feel absolutely no desire to read the works of these writers.  I have a fondness for some of the theology of Lewis, and I spent my childhood years devouring the Narnia series.  I read The Hobbit, and although I enjoyed it, I couldn't make my way through any other Tolkien work.

When I read Paul Elie's The Life You Save May Be Your Own, I immediately went back to Flannery O'Connor (who, truth be told is never far from my thoughts) and Thomas Merton.  I wanted to read Dorothy Day and Walker Percy.  It was a different experience from The Fellowship.

It's good to remember that we are still in the early days of Lent.  There is still hope for our Lenten disciplines.

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