Anyways, what I find most interesting is how desperate my want is for something which I've given up for only 40 days, and which many people live without on a regular basis. Some by choice. And maybe that's part of the point; to realize how privileged I am to choose to be in want of something, and be humbled. It makes me appreciate how human I am, to know that I'm no better than the next guy with some sort of insatiable desire, who may forget that a boundary exists or choose to scale it anyways, and who am I to judge when my desire for something so small as meat overwhelms my mind and I quite possibly could have eaten a few bites of chicken although I swore it off for lent? It's only food, I should really be able to relinquish my desire for it, especially for a short time to remind myself of my place in this world next to a Holy God who relinquished everything for love of me... But I can't. Or not yet, anyways. Maybe by the time I am seventy, I will have mastered the art of fasting but for now I just stumble along with lots of intention and loads of weakness.
I also totally love Herman Fields' image of lent, depravation, and spring. It may feel like I do my life's best work when I am content and happy but in fact, I grow and give best when I'm walking in the desert. It makes no sense to bloom in a season of drought or depravation but when I live without, I grow the most. I give-imperfectly, but I give in abundance when I am lacking somehow in my own life. When anger takes over. When I judge other moms. When I feel overwhelmed by loneliness or lack of courage or an absence of the qualities that equip me for a specific task (like parenting), this is when I am the most open to God, and to others. When I am afraid, I am the most beautiful.
There are several points in life when we are wide open, and these are amongst the most beautiful in any life, I think. When we give birth, when we falter, when we sing in public, and when we die. When I fast, I feel the extent of my weakness as a human being and how much I need God, and also how fragile I am. In the timeline of history, I am a brief struggle, one tiny spot of light striking out in a vast space.
For some reason, I am loved.