Photo: Quilt top complete! That took much longer than I needed it to! I need to get this thing pressed and basted so that I can start quilting! I also need a retwist somethin’ fierce (as I type, I’ve giving myself a deep conditioning treatment because Lord are these locs thirsty)… I also need to do this blog post… I also need to get to Good Friday service tonight… I think there is laundry in the washer? I need to iron both of the dresses that I’m wearing for services this weekend. All that on top of the usual chores. Oh, and the children are home today, so that helps a bunch. Anyone out there have an extra arm or two that I can borrow?
I really can’t believe that it’s Good Friday. I don’t write a lot about my faith for many reasons, and I know I’ve done it more than usual lately. I suppose that might annoy some of you and, if so, I’m sorry. As it is Good Friday, I do want to take a moment to reflect. Mostly because, well, Lent is over and I’m feeling like I missed an opportunity.
I take Lent fairly seriously. In the early years of our marriage, The Husband and I gave up something during the time and it turned into a big tempting pain. After babies were born, we thought about different ways to mark the period–mostly with daily readings from the Bible and prayer. Last year, I decided to do my daily reading and do a Lenten craft project and write a daily reflection every day. That was… a lot. I liked, though, that I had created a daily task to do, a time to stop, think and be prayerful. I was busy, but when I got to Easter Day, I felt satisfied. Not only did I have a tangible representation of my meditative period, I also had a collection of thoughts to look back on and reference for the rest of the year.
This year, I decided just to do a craft project. Our Sunday School has suggested setting aside a small place in the house to have a cross and light a candle to reinforce prayer practice at home. The Husband and I thought it would be nice to make a little shelf to display Sunday School projects, have a cross and a candle to light on special occasions. We decided to build the cross out of salvaged wood from the barn. He’d make the cross, I’d embroider a cloth for it all to rest on, representing the church seasonal color of Pentecost (green), which is the season that comes after Lent (and make a new cloth every Lent here after, one for each church season). Between these projects and some reading and reflecting, that would be a lovely way to spend the waning weeks of winter and welcome the Spring.
But between the travel, the painting preparation (and disaster), the snow days, the chasing of two little boys and the exhaustion of the day-to-day… our high hopes for a prayerful, reflective Lenten season quickly fell away. Materials for the shelf were bought, but never built. Wood in the barn was identified, but never worked with. The cloth was made, the embroidery started, but it is only partially finished. Reflective reading lasted maybe 2 weeks, then was set aside in favor of needed sleep.
I don’t feel guilt. We weren’t being terrible people for these last six weeks. I just feel less full, knowing that I missed this opportunity to do some self-building, not to mention creating something beautiful for the house, beneficial to all of us. And yes, those projects can easily be done in the coming weeks but, as we all know, Spring quickly rolls into Summer around here and then Summer turns into an incredibly busy Fall. This was the time, reverently set aside. A time that we respect, though were simply not able to seize this year.
And that’s what my Quiet Thoughts are all about this week. Thinking about every minute that we spend of our days, how they are often full of things to be done, things that are left undone for another time. Eventually, we catch up, but often at a cost, sometimes without the same sort of satisfaction that we likely deserve. Finishing this cloth, that shelf and that cross will have a little less power when they will eventually get done. Not because they will be any less, but simply because timing matters. They’ll be tasks complete rather than a culmination of a time. It is a nuanced way to look at it, but that nuance is still powerful to me.
It’s a good lesson to keep in mind in the future. Thinking about the things we want to accomplish verses the things that we need to. We often make excuses (“that doesn’t need to get done. Nobody is going to die if it doesn’t.” “Things will get done is due time.” “We put too much emphasis on deadlines!” etc, etc…), but those are sometimes false comforts. There are seasons for things. Eventually, those seasons end and new ones come to replace them. I hope we’ll keep that in mind when the next season comes, the next opportunity arises. Seize the moment if you can, before it passes you by, Dear Reader.
It is a dreary Good Friday. My children are pacified by their tablets and I can only feel but so guilty about it. What a strange week, with things done and many left undone. Yet, I live to try again tomorrow. Thank God. What are you proud of this week, Dear Reader? What do you hope to accomplish tomorrow because you simply can’t today? Moreover, what season are you in, Dear Reader? Are you seizing your opportunities or are some passing you by? I hope that, as one season ends and another begins, you are looking toward the horizon with hope, a sense of adventure and grand plans for the future.
In addition to that hope, Dear Reader, I have a few wishes for you this weekend. First and foremost, something bright. Preferably something naturally growing that catches your eye in a world just shaking off its somber winter sleep. Keep your eyes open for the new greens and surprising pinks of early spring days. I wish you the song of birds, newly arrived and settled in, maybe a peek at a newly laid egg or a freshly born animal just toddling after its mother. Matter of fact, I wish you the opportunity to hold a baby or listen to one’s laughter. Even a newborn’s cry can be the best sound in the world. I wish you something sweet and delicious, preferably not a marshmallow monstrosity, but something actually artfully made. And yes, I wish you the indulgence of chocolate and a few extra jelly beans. I wish you kisses on the cheek and tight hugs from family, messages of loving greetings from near and far. Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, I hope you’ll celebrate the arrival of this new season and all it has to offer us. There is so much in store, if only we should reach out for it.
No matter where you are and what you are doing this weekend, Dear Reader, I hope you are proud. I hope you are smiling. I hope that you let someone tell you they love you and know in your heart that you are worthy of it. I hope you’ll tell someone you love them, too. Don’t forget. It’s important to say.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.