Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Random Thoughts: Lent, Athleticism, Fear.

I saw several tweets, blog posts, etc., this morning regarding what people will be giving up for Lent this year. Along with making New Year's Resolutions, this is another of those things that I just don't do well. It's not that I don't have things in my life that I should sacrifice during the season, I just have a terrible tendency to forget or else I get really rebellious and that's never good. So, I face Ash Wednesday with a bit of a grin and move through the season.

Lent is a strange season for me. When I was growing up, it just wasn't something that we Protestants did. All of a sudden, though, I was part of churches that had Wednesday evening services and talked about sacrificing something important. I can remember thinking it strange that I had never seen this happen before except for a few of my Catholic friends who didn't eat meat on Fridays.

No, I'm not giving something up for Lent ... but by the way, if I did, I don't believe I'd tell you about it because I'm pretty sure that it's supposed to be a covenant between me and God.


I have a little more than six months before I begin my Master's program. In that period of time I feel a mad desire to cram as much random knowledge into my brain as possible. I'm pretty certain that as soon as I begin, I will no longer have the time to be a recreational reader.

However, I also feel the need to accomplish something astounding in these next six months. So, I have until March 1 to come up with a GRAND plan for a project - probably writing. There's my goal and here's hoping that on March 1, I can tell you what I will be doing.


The other evening I was talking to a friend about athleticism (or the lack thereof in my case). I had a great boyfriend in high school/college. I must have driven him absolutely batty. Even when I was a small girl, I was never athletic. It just really never made any sense to me. The finish line would be there whether I crossed it or not - and just because I ran slower or faster than anyone else didn't change that fact.

Rick, however, was tall, athletic and loved nearly every sport. He tried so hard to be patient with me. I wasn't a klutz or anything, I just didn't understand why I should have the same passion for these things. I wanted to read or play my music, I wanted to hang out with my friends or write letters and stories. He tried to teach me how to play tennis. He was excellent. I was not. He would hit the balls to me, I would hit them off the court and he would chase them. His patience never ran out, so I tried to figure it out. I failed.

He wanted me to learn to ski. We went to a local Iowa location (yea, IA mountains?) and when my arms wore out from pulling myself up the mountain on the rope lift, he would stand behind me to ensure that I was having the best time possible. I messed up my ankles on those trips - not fun. He loved roller skating and we would head to Ottumwa to skate. When I was wobbly, he would ensure that I made it round and round the rink, only leaving my side when he just HAD to put on the speed and chase someone down.

Rick was a cross-country runner. When I got to college, I decided that to stay in shape and keep up with him, I needed to start running. Every single morning I hit the streets of Iowa City and ran. I hated every single freakin' moment of it, but it was something he loved passionately and I knew that I needed to at least try. I don't know what I thought I was going to do - I was never going to keep up with his long legs ... ever! One full semester later, I just shook my head and laughed about it.

My father was an athlete, but could never instill a love for those things in me. He tried and tried. It's a good thing that I got excellent grades and excelled in music and my studies - otherwise the poor man might have tossed me out on the street.

You know, it's really funny - the things we do and don't do in our lives.


I've been thinking a lot about fear lately. The Greek word for fear is "phobos." Yup - all of our phobias. The Spartans capitalized it - Phobos. It was a proper noun. A name for a living, breathing entity. I see fear that way sometimes. It possesses me and stops me from doing what I want to do. Fear stands in front of me and taunts me. I hear those little girls in elementary school telling me that I can't do something because I'm not good enough, so I don't even try.

Does fear bind me up so badly that I can't even think of things that might be exciting to do?

My mother was afraid of closed doors. It was a fear that she recognized, but could do very little about. She would beg other people to go with her to an unknown location so that they could open the door and she could then be freed to enter and do what she needed to do. Once she could see what was on the other side of the door, she was fine.

Fear needs to be set aside so that I can be all I've ever dreamed of being.


Maybe that's what I should give up for Lent ... fear.

Oh, oops - I told you about it. I wasn't going to do that, was I?

1 comment:

Higgiq said...

Our church does Lenten (is that a word?) soup dinners on Wed nights. We start off tonight with a big chili cook off to raise money for our mission trip. A lot of people have problems with the whole chili (with meat!) and pigging out thing. But, hey, we are Presbyterians and its really ok. ;o)