Today is Ash Wednesday. Three years ago on Ash Wednesday, I wrote this article about the renewal we can experience during Lent. I had no idea what was coming my way!
You may have heard of the idea of choosing one word as a theme for your year. You’re supposed to place this word around your home or on a bracelet, where you’ll see it regularly and be reminded of your intention, and it will inspire you and serve as a guiding principle. Maybe you make some collages or something based on your word, for further inspiration. Maybe you use it like a mantra for meditation. Some people tell stories of amazing growth that resulted from this simple choice.
It sounds like a fine idea, and in January of 2012, when several bloggers I read were writing about what word each of them chose, I found that a particular word came into my mind as a goal for my own life. The word was replenishment.
Almost a year earlier, during my church vestry retreat, I’d thought of replenishment as the one word that best expressed what I wanted for my church: We were worn out from years of struggle, and many people had left, so we were down to a small core of mostly old-ish people working really hard to keep our parish going. I prayed for replenishment of our individual souls and strengths to keep us working toward the replenishment of our parish with new people and new energy. It’s working!! Our church is growing and getting really wonderful now!
But as 2012 dawned, I realized that I could use some replenishment myself. Not only was I working really hard on the vestry, but I was still working my way out of being a migraineur, which is a deceptively elegant word for “chronic horrible headache victim” or, at least in my case, “person with a massively fucked-up tendency to allow her brain to malfunction and get some kind of bizarre power trip out of it.” My New Year’s resolution for 2010 had been to battle the headaches from every possible direction, and that really helped: I went from having about four headaches per week to more like two per month! But that battle had worn me down, what with various lifestyle changes and medical appointments and facing stuff in therapy and attempting to ask for what I need, so although I was suffering less pain, I was very depleted and had this awful sense of being so busy all the time yet never getting everything done.
So: 2012, my year of replenishment! I didn’t write the word everywhere or make a collage, but I prayed about it a lot and, when faced with choices about what to do, considered what would be the most replenishing choice. It was going pretty well for the first couple months, and then it was time for Lent, and I decided that I would fast from the idea, “I don’t have time to get things done.” Well, guess how that turned out? Read more…