Lent rattles on. Every year it is obscenely busy. Every year at this time I just crave time for stillness and recollection. However, such things are a luxury. Some things we deny ourselves during Lent, other things are denied us. I think the latter are of greater spiritual importance. There is no point in craving them. We seem to have to live the reality, and often at this most starkly holy of seasons, the reality is full immersion in the world. It is about being still, recollected and focussed on God amidst the insanity and frenzy of daily life and the daily news feeds of misinformation, propaganda, sentimentality and moral outrage.
What am I learning about myself this Lent?
What is God teaching me this Lent?
Just how inadequate is my response to Him?
How am I responding to those around me, am I giving of myself unconditionally or am I treating others as simply a projection of my own ego; judging their motives and making assessments as to their "worthyness" and sincerity?
These are all Lenten questions and I feel I ought to be addressing them and spending time on them. However now is the time to be wading through the piles of science controlled assessments (last year ever of those), and the piles of school reports that need writing. Now is the time when my voluntary church duties escalate; there are several loads of washing and complex ironing to do. Now is the time to be contacting my pensions provider about my forthcoming changes in circumstances. Now is the time to be getting quotes from removal firms. Now is the time to be finding a notary. Now is the time to be offloading books and making plenty of trips to the local tip. Now is the time to be shredding and burning that which doesn't need keeping. Now is the time for getting my Irish Passport (just in case). Now is the time to sort out things that need doing for my tenant now that I have been over and inspected my property. (I loathe being a landlord). Now is the time to be seriously getting stuck into learning the local language.
It is only on this last front, the language learning, where I feel there is a marriage of the worldly and the spiritual. On one side, I'm trying to decide which local football team to support and I'm looking through their websites and fan pages, picking up the language as I go. It is fun, but I'm still undecided (none of them play in blue, which is a distinct problem for me). On the other side, I'm trying to memorise the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria, Glory Be and the prayer to St Michael. I'm also getting a friend to translate the mechanics of going to Confession, but as his French and his Latin is better than his English, I've had to find it in those languages first for him to do the necessary.
What I am learning is that it is only in the ordinary and the humdrum and the dull that the extraordinary will reveal itself. The thing is to praise God at all times. Praise God for it all.....! Elizabeth of the Trinity is ever my surefooted, unsentimental guide into the Abyss.
ps. I think my team will be the one associated with the railway: they are a team that whilst money seems to have been chucked at them recently, they have the unending capacity for underachievement. This is similar enough to MCFC for me to be at home. I'm not a glory hunter.