Thursday isn’t my official “Slow-Down Fast” posting day, but I was inspired to think and write about Lent today, as well as Saturday. So, at risk of causing confusion, I stuck the button on this post. For more thoughts, check in again this Saturday.As I prepare for the Slow-Down Fast this Lent, I am open. I am willing to slow down in all areas, from my schedule to my spending; from my technology use to my thought patterns.My desire is to find the right pace for preparation—I want slow down for the 40 days of Lent in order to be prepared to walk through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday attentively, reflectively…and then to celebrate Easter Sunday with my whole self focused on Jesus Christ, the risen Savior.I didn’t grow up knowing much about Lent, nor have the churches that I’ve attended as an adult done much to observe Lent. Most of what I’ve learned has been through reading on my own.Last year, I learned that some congregations will bury the “Alleluia” on the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, refraining from uttering it throughout Lent. By saving it all that time, “Alleluia” becomes a more precious and powerful word to sing out with jubilation on Easter Sunday.This Sunday would be the day to bury the “Alleluia.” My church probably won’t do so, and I don’t go around saying “Alleluia” at home (maybe I should?), so it got me thinking about other things I might “bury” and leave buried! Things like:
- Unhealthy thought patterns
Jenny of “A Minute Captured” has me adding “complaining” to the list, as well, as she and her husband consider “A Complaint-Free Lent.”
Right now kids are gathered around the sink like wild animals gathered around the watering hole and every once in a while I hear the harsh words and angry tones that make me think the crocodile has just ambushed from the water and strangled the oblivious gazelle.
She’s been reading a book called A Complaint Free World, and it has her thinking.
Many things have been damaged during the past few weeks—a kitchen cabinet, a stair-stepper, an external hard drive, my forearm (a minor, but painful, burn). One day, when yet another item literally broke in two, I actually started to cry and exclaimed, “It’s like I’m not allowed to own anything nice!”Later, my son, who had completed all of his work and finally earned the right to play a computer game, started the program only to find that it wouldn’t load. It froze. Wouldn’t even open up for him to begin playing. I was sitting in the kitchen when I heard him wail.”What’s wrong?” I asked.”I don’t deserve anything nice,” he cried. “I just mess it all up!”There it was. My own attitude, my own tone, and my own words, slightly edited.Jenny pointed out that her complaining is often more subtle and thus harder to fix. She finds herself saying things like:
A complaint free world? How about a complaint free house? Chris is resting on the couch and I start reading him bits and pieces of the book. “Can you imagine the gift we would be giving our children? The powerful life they would live, I mean really. live. if they bypass the habit of complaining?”
“Oh man, it’s raining…Why does someone always spill something sticky the exact same day I decide to mop?…Did you see?…Can you believe?…I cannot believe!..I don’t like…it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too wet, it’s too dry…”
I keep thinking about all the things that have broken, and my complaints. Things will break. When I feel frustrated, disappointed or discouraged, what’s an honest but appropriate response?And if complaining is more of a habit than I realize, subtle and hard to catch, is it even possible to bury the attitude at Lent, never to dig up again?I’d like to try. Because I agree with Jenny: I like the sound of a complaint-free house.This post is part of Charity Singleton’s TheHighCalling.org (THC) community project, “There & Back Again.”
Go there: Visit fellow TheHighCalling.org member “A Minute Captured,” to read “A Complaint Free Lent.” Then come back here again!Each Thursday, consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.Here are Charity’s steps: