Ash Wednesday – 40 Days of More Silent Focus

Each year, I sit in church hoping this Lent Season is THE ONE. The one where I learn how to truly balance life to be a healthier person with healthier relationships with healthier finances. It doesn’t take long and I am usually back to old habits of unbalance in one of these areas. As a passionate person, I am made to “give it my all” to whatever my focus is and usually that is some project at work, or completing a schooling, or when I quilt it is non-stop cutting and sewing until the quilt is done. Balance and passion usually are not complementary.

However, this year is different, REALLY DIFFERENT. I just finished 40 days of fasting not food like Jesus in the wilderness but fasting from talking. 40 days of silence, 40 days of vocal rest, 40 days of not talking, 40 days of squeaks coming from my vocal cords just once in a while, 40 days of laryngitis, 40 days of my body recovering from a virus.

Today, I went to the specialist, and expected her to say “life is going to return to normal for you”. That is not what happened – again! What happened was another 40 days of some silence, some reflection, and having to say NO because I don’t have strong enough vocal cords to say yes. Literally, when I say NO you can hear it. When I say YES, you can only see my lips move. How ironic!

Sitting in church tonight, I listened to others sing. I listened to others pray, and I listened for my strong desire to sing Alleluia on Easter Morning. Which means I have to go through a struggle of managing my words, managing my energy, managing a balanced life for the next seven weeks so I can sing out Alleluia on April 17.

I find comfort in Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, and his answer to the devil, “worship the Lord your God and serve only him”. Then the angels came and attended to Him. So this becomes my beginning prayer for Lent,… “Lord, as I experience my unique fasting from talking and therefore social connections, will you please help me find ways to serve you these 40 days, and send your angels to attend to me and my healing throughout this time. Amen.”

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