So, for Lent I am cutting back on tv viewing, praying The Divine Office
The weekend wasn't so bad. I'm finding I don't miss television all that much. It's just second nature to turn it on, so after I turn it on without thinking, I turn it off and read. I joked with my friend theobilly on the phone today that I gave up television for lent, but am spending more time on the internet. He replied that this was like giving up beer for lent only to start drinking wine.
Somewhat more seriously, praying the hours has been more challenging than I expected. It seems a bit anti-climactic to stop what I am doing to go through these very brief prayers. it seems like there should be more. I just settle my racing mind into the moment and it is over, the prayers are said and I don't feel like I was present for the moment. I think I am reading them, and I tend to read fast. So i started singing the prayers as Phyllis Tickle suggests in her brief introduction. At first it feels funny, but I do slow down. some. I find myself singing too quickly too. and this is perhaps the lesson I am meant to learn... to slow down.Or the practice I meant to begin, slowing down, my reading, my thinking, my doing. I was just extolling the virtues of contemplation and discernment to a church member the other day, who did not feel effective or active enough.
It is a tough lesson to learn, that sometimes we serve God and others best not by a knee-jerk action, but by quietly listening, thinking, praying and learning so that when we act we act effectively and for the glory of God. Guess I need to learn it better myself. If we learn anything from the recent news about the mid-west baptists involvement in haiti it is that acting without learning leads to more harm than good
I am reminded of a line from Tolkien, 'Not all those who wander are lost.' I suppose I fear that i am loosing time for important actions if I wander in prayer. Wandering might not be such a bad thing though.