Lenten Reflection: A Good and Gentle Lent
February 24, 2015 § 3 Comments
Hearing “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” as the ashes were dragged across my forehand on Ash Wednesday somehow reminded me of a phrase my trainer Julie repeats to me almost every week: “Be gentle with your body.”
I get frustrated when I can’t get my ball squats deep enough and when I can’t hold my neck up in the perfect cobra stretch. I groan, scrunch my face and try to figure out how to activate the muscles deep in my back to do perfect cable rows. I’m anxious about keeping up with my weight loss plan. Like most New Yorkers, I’m in a rush and I’m not getting any younger. I want to master these introductory exercises and get on to the intense stuff.
It’s hard to be gentle when you’re trying to be tough.
“Be gentle with your body and keep breathing,” Julie says to me week after week. “Remember you are dust,” the priests say year after year. If we are made of dust stuff, we must hold ourselves gently.
Tradition tells me that Lent is a time for sacrifice and self-denial. In this harsh and frozen season, when headlines remind us of record-breaking homelessness and terror threats at shopping malls, can we can add gentleness to our Lenten tradition?
Dear Jesus, as we begin our Lenten journey, remind us of your gentleness. Show us how to be gentle with our souls and our bodies. Help us to breathe out aggression and breath in love. Breath out fear and and breath in peace.