My 6 month old granddaughter lay in my arms, exhausted. Her eyes would open, then close half way, then pop open again. They would close, then open a bit … You get the idea.
We are into the second day of Lent, and along with the discipline of doing without things we usually enjoy, we might want to consider embracing the discipline required to take hold of something we need. Sleep, for example. Isn’t it amazing the amount of discipline it takes for some of us to turn off the television or computer and get to bed at a reasonable hour! If sleep isn’t your issue, then what is?
In the classic passage from Romans 7, St. Paul acknowledges and laments the wretchedness of always doing what you don’t want to do, and never doing what you truly do want to do.
It is almost 30 years since Anne Wilson Schaef wrote her book When Society Becomes an Addict. While there have been some updates, the book in its original form still holds true. Schaef says we are addicted to things, to processes and to relationships that enslave us. While she uses different language than Paul, both suggest to us that there is something external – society for Schaef; the “law” for Paul – as well as something internal that we struggle to break free from.
While I don’t blame society for my grandchild’s resistance to sleep, I acknowledge that she is entering a society that is addicted to hyperactivity. For the most part Americans are exhausted. I wonder what Lent would look like if we observed it by giving credence to what Paul is saying – we all do things we know we shouldn’t. We all neglect things we know we need to be attentive to. What might we do if we began to recognize the connection between personal addictions and societal ones?
Lent – let it be a time to break free from some of our addictions – the ones we must own individually, and the ones we perpetuate as a society. (Like racism, for example.)