Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

So today is Ash Wednesday. I am no longer Catholic but the past few years I have given something up, except last year because I was still overwhelmed by taking care of my infant daughter. Today I went to church. I want to participate in Lent again this year and I wanted to do so by experiencing the mass that begins the time period. The priest talked about repentance, renewal and joy. I like the idea of that process. He also said Lent was a time to give to the poor of your money and your time, to give to those who have less and to ease loneliness. I like that idea, too.

I recently read Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies and wished I had read it sooner. I became aware of it through reading other blogs and it intrigued me. The overall appeal of the book as I read it was how human she is. That may sound odd, but we live in a world of extremes and it would appear you can’t really be a Christian without being some PTL holy roller, which I am not (and do not wish to be). I am very human, but I am also a Christian.

I thought of my son while I was in church, partly because he is being raised Catholic, but also because last night I was doing some Internet research and confirmed that he lives in the town I thought he lived in. I couldn’t find anything more than that, but it was something concrete and I felt that it was progress. For years I have known where they live, but I don’t want to drive up to their house or spy on them or anything like that. All I really want is to know more about him – see a picture, read a newspaper article about his baseball team, something like that. But there is nothing out there that I can find. So every few months I google his name, just for “fun”.

And as I sat there in the pew I thought of how no matter where we go in life, we seem to return to our roots. For me today it was my spiritual roots. For many years I spent a lot of energy rebelling against certain things. I’ve always been wary and even scared by those who blindly follow – even if I happen to agree with what they follow. But I also tend to shun what I perceive as evil. Now I find a certain sweetness in the acceptance of rituals, philosophies and the knowledge that we just don’t know. Is that what they call wisdom? I thought of Anne Lamott and how she found and probably continues to find her own way, and how reading about her journey made me feel that my own is okay, too. There aren’t any pat answers. I guess I got caught up in a false belief that life and all its facets were like TV episodes where it would all work out in the end, that the right characters would know the right things to do at the right time. For some, life is like TV – they just sit back and passively watch, accepting what is in front of them. For me, that was never good enough. I want to walk through the woods, not just watch a documentary on the forest. I may wind up being dirty and tired, but I’ll be able to use all five senses to take in my surroundings.

I want to use this Lenten period to let go of the hate that has built up in me since Christmas. I usually hang onto the actual box that arrives longer than most (I firmly believe in reduce, reuse, recycle), but I used it today to mail something so it would be out of my house. As I ripped off the label, I noticed the zip code … same as what I found last night.

I also need to go ahead and write a return letter.


Blogger said...

It makes me sad that the adoptive family don't share some news with you.

This was my experience too. It's mental torture, it really is.

Write another letter, ask for a photo and some news. Let her know you want some news, write some basic questions for them to answer.

Sometimes they don't know how to give the information.

Write another letter.

12:01 PM  

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