The Practice of Lent

"Wow, that's really tight. Does that hurt?" the massage therapist asked as she worked on my back this afternoon.

Yes, it hurts a lot. It prevented me from getting a good night sleep last night and will probably prevent one tonight. It hurts so much that I am uncomfortable turning my head. The most annoying part about this discomfort is that I have no idea when this happened. I lifted on Tuesday night but I can't imagine that that was the cause. I may have slept awkwardly -- but I didn't notice it.

After our pampering this afternoon, Songbird offered an image that scares me. I had mentioned feeling like I had been stabbed in the back earlier this week. My colleague and friend reminded me of these words and said that perhaps my body is reacting more than my mind. If this is the case, it should hurt. And it does.

The suffering of Christ is not a theme that I find at all comforting during the season of Lent. I don't give up anything. I don't deny myself. I don't intend to suffer. And yet, here I am in complete pain feeling like I've been stabbed in the back. I'm not looking for a Judas among my circle. I don't need to worry about any of these possible metaphors. I'm not sure that they are helpful. Instead, I think that they might just make the knot in my back tighter.

Instead, I want to focus on the positive. This is what I want for Lent. I don't want to be the pessimist. I don't want to focus on what I am failing to do in my family and personal life. I want to acknowledge that the knot in my back is because of these strains -- and I want to let that go. I had hoped that my Lenten practice would focus on self care. I was hoping to find a better way to take care of my body. My body has beaten me to this desire. She has no interest in going to the gym -- but this body requires loving care so that it can experience some measure of rebirth. My body is forcing me to acknowledge what the rest of my self has lost.