Lent does not come easily to me. I was raised in a tradition where Lent was something those other people did. It was brushed aside, unnecessary. As a child Lent was for kids who couldn’t eat chocolate, or had to swear off TV for 40 whole days! I was glad to be well free of it.
But as an adult I’ve been intrigued by the idea. I’ve read of Lent as a time to make space, a season of peaceful simplicity and I find it resonates better with my heart now than it did all those years ago. This year I had been thinking about what do to for Lent but nothing quite felt right until the other day when I walked into my kitchen.
I stood there in my beautiful miracle kitchen. The kitchen I had not even dared to dream of, the one I didn’t even ask for and God gave it to me anyway. The first kitchen I have ever owned. The one I got to remodel with the cabinets we choose together and the counters that almost look like stone. It was my delight, or it had been.
It was stacked to the rafters with dishes.
I stood there and I realized that I had forgotten the magic of the gift of this kitchen. I was not treating it like the blessing it was. It had become familiar. And there, I realized was my Lent. With God’s help I am committed to no dishes in the sink for the next 40 days. It is my intention to leave the kitchen clean each night and to use those moments as a place of quiet, a time to reflect, not just on this particular gift but on all the gifts of God. I hope to find God in the dishwater. (He’s been in worse places.)
So this was day one, and the alter, so to speak, had plenty of refining to offer. I took a deep breath – I have promised myself not to rush the dishes. I lit a candle. I put Acoustic Moods of Worship on, not too loud, and I did the dishes and thanked God for this kitchen, for this home, for the dream realized. I found my stillness, sudsy and warm and oddly peaceful.
Barb Erochina, a poet and a friend wrote, “This is why I mark Ash Wednesday – we keep breaking each other’s hearts.” Oh that these quiet moments would manifest in one less broken heart. May my stillness birth one gentle word, one extra moment of patience. May these hands, set to humble work, work also at the task of forgiveness, of making room and making amends.
God, You who makes much of the small efforts of your children, help me to step in to this moment, this stillness where you always are. Lead me into quiet moments where I can hear the song you sing. This is my Lenten prayer, made whole in the truth of who you are and the power of your name in which I pray, amen.