Monday, March 2, 2009

Thank you?

I have been turning inward a bit lately. I am trying to have a productive Lent. My spirituality has been a little mechanical lately. So I'm giving something up (which I have not done in years and years) in the hope that a little more focus and a little less distraction will eventually bear fruit. So far, not so good. That's the trouble with fruit. It requires patience.

Last Wednesday, I attended the most unsatisfying Ash Wednesday service ever. I was sick. It was my lunch hour and I was feeling rushed and pressured. It was a different parish than my usual and I didn't know the priest. The church was newer, with less decoration than I prefer. The homily was about wild fires. Pick an excuse - it just was not working for me.

Instead of fighting it, I let my mind wander a bit. I knew that I had to develop a lesson plan for Sunday's Children's Liturgy, so I started thinking back to activities that had succeeded in the past. That's when I remembered the sin lesson. I found the lesson online the first year I taught Children's Liturgy. The goal was to teach the children how sin can change us from the inside out. I had a heart shape cut from plastic transparency, a marker, and some Windex. We took turns talking about ways that we hurt other people and putting a big black mark on the heart to illustrate that sin. Once the heart was almost black, we held it up and looked at each other through it and laughed about how very distorted we all were. "Sally is missing her nose!" Then, of course, we Windexed the transparency clean again to demonstrate God's ability to transform us.

Since then, I have been mulling over my marked up heart. It is patently obvious that I'm viewing certain people and events through a dirty filter. It is a little less obvious exactly how to get that filter sparklingly clear again. How do you get a fresh take on a not-so-fresh relationship? Where do I buy spiritual Windex and can I get a coupon?

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