How is your Lent going? I always look forward to Lent. It feels like a spiritual do-over. The timing is well enough away from both the liturgical and calendar new years to be right in sync with a need for a spiritual refresher.
During the last days of Epiphany, I enjoy thinking about fine tuning my spiritual practices. I have fun searching out books or devotionals and/or retreats that will make the Lenten final cut. Last year, I bought a new purple mug and bowl from my favorite potter for use during Lent. This year, I took some of my Christmas money and bought some new purple earrings for Lent. Like I said, I have fun getting ready for Lent.
And then the reality of Lent set in.
An exhausting week of Lenten preparations at church were capped with attendance at our yearly Diocesan Council. The earrings I bought with my Christmas money look pretty, but don’t help me be any closer to God. The new planner that I went through a great deal of twists and turns, not to say expense to secure, at least so far, hasn’t left me feeling any closer to God.
Then my new iPhone crashed. Over and over and over. It was only two weeks old, so I went to the Apple Store for service. Thankfully, everything was backed up on both my computer and in the cloud.
Turns out, the way to fix the phone was to completely erase it and set it up as a brand new phone. That meant that even though my contacts, photos, music, and documents were saved in the cloud, because my back up most probably was corrupted, I had to start anew.
It wasn’t like when I bought my new phone and everything transferred over with relative ease. I only had my most essential data, and everything, everything, had to be downloaded and rearranged and set up.
I spent the evening picking and choosing. What wallpaper would I use? Which apps did I really need? What were my preferences for sounds and notifications? Passwords had to be entered. Years of choices and selections had to be reexamined and evaluated to see if they were all that essential.
Many of us say our phone is our life. This Lent, my phone has become a way to reflect on my life in a way that feels very inconvenient.
My phone has become an unexpected spiritual practice and place for theological reflection.
What is essential? What was simply accumulation that I didn’t need after all? What new ways of navigating will I discover? How will I be forced to pay attention during irritations and frustrations, and when trying to figure out how to get things good enough?
I am certain that I’ll have many little bumps as I continue to set up my phone in a way that syncs with my life. Hopefully, the phone will no longer crash. Of the only true importance, how will this twist in the Lenten journey assist me in getting better in sync with God?