It's Lent again. I say the word and I instantly think of the smell of fish sticks in the cafeteria on Fridays and the Catholic girls at school proudly abstaining from chocolate. At my house, in my church, we didn't do Lent. It was just a blank space between Ash Wednesday and the drama of Holy Week.
So it's been something of a culture shock to become part of a church that sees Lent as a chance to dig in and grapple with what it means to be in a relationship with God.
That last line is the perfect example. Where I came from people don't say that sort of thing. It feels presumptuous and a bit dangerous to talk like that. I half expected the computer to short out when I wrote it. And that's what Lent has become for me, a time to be vulnerable, to stretch my faith a little beyond what's comfortable. In recent years I've tried new forms of prayer, colored mandalas, attended chant groups, meditated, read, read some more and yes given up indulgences like TV and Mt. Dew.
This year my friend Kristina (check out her blog)invited me to join her in a creative project. The idea is to build on our church's theme for Lent, Listening to God. That makes me more than a little uncomfortable, so I've rebranded it as making time to appreciate what's around me. Ignatius of Loyola (there's evidence of that Lenten reading) said to find God in everything, so I think I'm on solid theological ground.
We couldn't decide if we wanted to take a photo each week, or write something short, so we decided to do both. We each take a photo and write a haiku (at least one) each week during Lent. These are then made into diptychs, her photo with my haiku and vice versa.
I haven't written a haiku since 6th grade English. I've never collaborated with anyone on a creative project like this. Will the results feel jumbled and confused, or will the mishmash make us see our own creations in a new light? I don't know, but that uncertainty has me really excited to give it a try. To quote Anna from Frozen "Don't know if I'm elated or gassy/ but I'm somewhere in that zone."
Without any further ado, here are week 1's diptychs: