Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Full of Grace

I love Lent.

Have I said that already?

Well, I'll say it again.

For Lent this year, I chose to give up sweets. This was a tall order for me, and I will admit that I had some fear around it. As a Kitchen Tools chick, I am making ooey gooey desserts at parties all the time. I was sure it would be an issue.

I gave up meat on Fridays, which is easy.

But at some point, I also decided I would also give up snacks between meals. This was even scarier than the sweets!

So, my food for Lent is three meals a day with no snacks and no sweets.

And here's the Grace part: I am barely missing them. After that first day, I have been completely relieved of the desire to eat between meals or to eat sweets.

It can only be the Grace of God that this has been effortless. I sit in awe and thanksgiving. The most amazing thing of all is that I have barely felt any hunger.

You go, God!

More Grace-notes:

Since Thanksgiving, I have been working on learning a simplified version of Handel's Pastoral Symphony on the piano. (I am a rank beginner, for those of you coming late to The Big Dunk. It took me 6 months to learn my first Mozart piece!)

Well, here it is, months later, and I am beginning to get the feel of the piece. I remember going to a performance of Messiah at Christmas and waiting so eagerly for the Pastoral Symphony. It is one of my favorite pieces of music. And the organist wrecked it. He banged through it with a tempo like a Souza March. It was terrible.

I am still missing notes and stumbling here or there, but at last I can really begin to feel the piece, it's disonance, it's complexity, it's theology. Although it is about the birth of Christ, Handel created a bass line that is clearly about Easter. Even as the melody line lilts along, there is this deep bass line that underscores, foreshadows, the death and resurrection. It is remarkable. And I can play it.


Finally, the other day a friend started asking me about my baptism. She wanted to know if there was a single moment when I knew I was a Christian. (There was...) She wanted to know what, if anything, had changed. I shared that although I have only been a Christian for a couple of years, I almost can't remember what life was like before. Except that I was never, truly, content. Never truly peaceful or joyful. There was always a vague sense of dissatisfaction. She said to me "You are one of the happiest people I know..."

I was floored.

Because she is right. I AM happy. By the Grace of God.
And I feel joy for her, because she is beginning to recognize her own sense of vague discontent... which might very well be the first step towards finding True Joy.

Grace abounds, Beloved. You are carrying me so gently on this journey into the desert. We walk together in Love and I am so very very grateful.

In my prayers this week are L.A., L.G., B.A. , V. A. , P.D.

Keep them close, Beloved. Make your face shine upon them.

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