Sylvia rethinks Lent.

Sylvia rethinks Lent.

Sylvia sat in church the week after Ash Wednesday. She was feeling a bit disconnected, not really able to get into the stories about ashes, and pancakes, that had been part of the week. She wondered, why make pancakes and eat up all the eggs and milk, when you just had to go to the supermarket and get some more. What a silly tradition. And what if her grandchildren asked her to make her special blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes for them when they stayed the night with her? She felt that giving things up like pancakes just seemed artificial and irrelevant.

Sylvia started to wonder about Lent. The words of the opening hymn were sticking in her mind – ‘forty days and forty nights, thou wast fasting in the wild’. Well, fasting for forty days was obviously not going to work, not when she had to take her pills with food, and keep her carbohydrate intake even.

But the idea of being ‘in the wild’ for forty days, now that was appealing! Imagine a time of having none of the usual distractions, none of the shopping and the housework, or those phone calls where they said there was something wrong with the computer she didn’t have, or the noisy kids next door, none of the worry about the bills that kept coming through the letterbox, none of the doctor’s visits… Sylvia started to contemplate how she could find a wilderness to escape from her daily grind.

Well, she thought, I can get rid of the distractions. And the weather seems to be helping there – it’s getting darker in the mornings, it’s not so appealing to rush into the garden. Even the garden was winding down for autumn, flowers were finishing, leaves starting to turn..

Yes, thought Sylvia, that’s it! I’ll copy my garden! I’ll drop my leaves – get rid of what I don’t need in my life, like, like,… like chasing after friends who never call me back, and who seem content to go through their list of woes without once asking after mine. I’ll give up reading the junk mail from the shops where I never go, looking at things I don’t even want, and couldn’t afford if I did!

Yes, I’ll drop my leaves.

And then, she thought, maybe I’ll  tend myself as I tend the garden – after taking away the dead and finished  stems, I’ll mulch and compost.

How can I compost myself? She started to giggle as she thought about the last time she had turned the compost, and a shovelful had flung over her head. She remembered the worm that was still in her hair two hours later which had given her granddaughter such a fright.

Shh! Glared the couple in front of her at church.

Well, let them, Sylvia thought. They’re listening to the sermon, but I can’t really concentrate.

Yes, compost , that was it. I’ll feed my soul. I’ll read things that make me grow, I’ll listen to music that will build my faith, I’ll stop and let my roots grow deep and let God feed me. And then, maybe I’ll be like my apple tree, looking barren and lifeless but knowing that deep inside life is there, gaining strength, waiting to bring beauty and fruit.

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One thought on “Sylvia rethinks Lent.

  1. Being absolutely deaf I no longer attend church – I could not follow the Service as the minister jumped from page to page, could not hear the lessons being read nor the sermon, could not hear the music nor the choir; as for fellowshipping over a cup of coffee afterwards, nobody wanted to write notes in order to communicate with a deaf person. BUT, God still wants to talk with me, as does Jesus, so I read my Bible, Daily Word, and other literature that helps me to grow spiritually (like your posts, Felicity). I have found Christian friends on Facebook who want me to pray for them, and who are willing to pray for the restoration to health of my husband – and this I find also helps my walk with God.
    I used to be in the church choir, helped in the office when needed, served on Vestry, helped run the drop-in, went to a 3-Day Cursillo and served ‘On Team’ for 3 Cursillo 3-Days, so I miss going to church enormously.
    I found a lot of people lot of people in churches are like your couple who glared! Not really paying attention to the sermon if they heard a giggle and turned to glare, they were in church doing what? Pew-warming! Jesus went to The Temple and to the synagogue but…….He did the vast percentage of His most effective work out on the road, by-ways, and hills of Israel.

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