I thought I’d be better at Lent this year. After all, nearly every day I am lucky enough to walk past one of the most beautiful cathedrals ever (St. John’s at Creighton University). It’s also my first year here in Omaha which is rich in Catholic traditions. Every bar and restaurant sign has fish advertisements this month!
But I’m not being nearly as innovative as I was last year in observance of Lent. My Lent this year is quieter and more personal, but I think it’s working just the same. This year I decided to commit myself to reading a small devotion (from N. T. Wright) and a selection from Matthew’s Gospel (see YouVersion for the Bible reading app I use – it even sends friendly reminders before the day escapes you). It’s been a gift.
As I am fully entrenched in a graduate program in English (literature and creative writing), I take in a lot of words. Hundreds of pages a week usually. Some of it fascinating; some of it just plain old work.
But the words I read in that short section of the Bible each night are different. There’s no denying it. And even as spiritually-bent as I have always been, I’ve never made Bible reading a daily habit. So I decided it was time. In the middle of all these words, I thought I actually needed a few more of a very specific kind.
What I realized about myself was that I made time for certain things almost each night and each morning: As I lay in bed, either waking up or winding down, I’d scroll through facebook and twitter for 10-15 minutes. I didn’t intend to make this a habit, it just became one because I wanted to stay in touch with my friends, family, and non-related but still interesting strangers. I had time for that. So I knew I had time for the Bible app.
This new habit hasn’t required much from me (again, seriously, YouVersion makes it so easy) but it has added greatly to my sense of wellness in my soul.
A person needs that when they find themselves swimming around in the word oceans of philosophers, literary critics, poets, and short fiction writers.
I like the ocean, but it can be tiring if you don’t have a raft to hang onto where you can catch your breath now and then.