Well, here we are at (almost) the end of the first week of lent. I have to admit, I am not specifically fasting this lent, or at least not any more than I already was. In January I introduced a set of daily goals for good stewardship of my life – really basic things like eating and sleeping properly, and recognising the importance of actively cultivating my relationships with friends – and also gave up various bad habits, like unnecessary snacking, using my phone as a distraction from the world around me, and using Facebook at all. So I arrived at Ash Wednesday with no clear idea what I could actually give up or change, and the knowledge that any attempt to devote more time to charity or service would result in a total collapse of all the commitments already in my life. I would love to restart voluntary work, and in fact I’ve made enquiries about starting in the spring, but currently it’s all I can do to get through the day without napping. It’s been a fatiguey sort of month.

But lent has nonetheless so far been a time of reflection, self-examination and a concerted effort to grow in my faith. Lately, and coincidentally, I have been struggling a great deal with a particular issue and every sermon or prayer I’ve listened to has seemed to speak directly to that issue. This week in particular there have been some sermons which cut to the heart of our human struggle against sin.

As I type, I am waiting for the knock at my door which will herald the arrival of a friend to chat about our shared struggle. We were baptised together, confirmed together, and have become friends over the last year and a half, and quite by chance we discovered we were also sharing a difficulty which we are reluctant to take to the clergy for guidance. Hopefully we can thrash it out together a little, and if we can’t find a solution we may at least be able to formulate the question.

My prayers lately have all been for clarity, true understanding, freedom from delusion, and the strength to discern and follow God’s path. Whatever that may turn out to be.

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