“I’m going to miss your writing. Sure you don’t want to continue?” And old friend posted on my Facebook page in response to the Day 36 post. I smiled when I read it, but gently let her know that writing a daily blog required a lot of effort and often far more energy than I believed I had. I am amazed to be at the end of this journey of Another Forty Days. I was only in the first 10 days of writing when I seriously considered throwing in the towel and abandoning this Lenten blog in the same way as I’d abandoned my Advent blog after just a few days. See, I was not confident that my mental and emotional capacity, not to mention my energy level, for sustained writing on a daily basis was sufficient to carry me through all 40 days. And yet, here we are on Day 41.
“I don’t know how you do it sometimes, push through your exhaustion to get things done.” Another friend remarked, shaking her head. “I don’t think I’d be able to do it.”
“You push through things,” I protested, pushing back, trying to minimize her compliment of my stick-to-it-ness. In reality I know she was right and I was trying to ignore it, that feeling of exhaustion I experience on a far-too-regular basis.
How do we keep going, when everything in us is screaming for us to stop, to take a break, to give up and give in. But we keep going–we do it, well, let me speak for myself–I do it, keep going, because I must, because the alternative would be to stop moving, to sit, and not get up again. In so many situations, I have found that I have had only myself to depend on to get something done. If I didn’t or couldn’t do it, it simply wouldn’t happen, and that thing not happening was simply not an option. And so, it didn’t matter what I did or did not feel like doing, I got up, put one foot in front of the other, and worked until I got it done.
Nevertheless, there comes a time when we simply must rest, where we have to take a breather, whether for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days. There comes a point at which we can no longer push, tax our bodies and/or our minds, asking, demanding it to do whatever it is we’re asking of it. We have to find a way to stop. And so we rest.
I must be honest that I am glad to have reached Resurrection Sunday. I can say “Hallelujah” again (though in truth I never really stopped, and I don’t say it that often anyway), I get to eat foods that I generally only eat a few times per year, and, I get to take a rest from this daily blog. I still write every day–I’ve been journaling every morning for many years–but not for public consumption. The pressure to write something coherent and relatively meaningful every day, particularly after I get home from some long, stressful days at work, can be a heavy mental load indeed.
And yet, as I think about Jesus, and other human beings who devote significant hours each day teaching, healing, preaching to, feeding, speaking with day in and day out, seven days a week, it is a small thing to reach out and touch people with words and to do what good I can where I can to support the people around me. It’s what Jesus did, no matter how tired he invariably got, so I imagine I can find the energy to do what I can do. I don’t think, at least for the foreseeable future, that includes continuing to write a daily blog. I need to take a little time off to figure out what’s next.
It’s been a privilege, once again, to share my thoughts, ideas, and yes, occasionally my struggles with you over these 41 days. I have no idea when I’ll be back here in “Consider This,” the overall name of this blog site, but I will visit her periodically. And who knows, after writing “Forty Days,” in 2015, and “The Next Forty Days” last year, and “Another Forty Days,” this year, who knows what will happen next Lent. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Meanwhile the end of Lent often signals a time of taking back up the various things we “gave up” for the season and stopping those things we took on (like fasting or not eating meat on Fridays). I encourage each of us to think about those things we gave up as well as those things we took on and see if there’s merit in continuing the practice for the foreseeable future. One year I decided to give up riding the elevator at work and, in the interest of overall wellness, take the four flights (66 steps, not counting the landings) up to my floor. After Lent was over, I continued the practice and do so to this day. I will continue to fast and spend some time in reflection in the days ahead. These things are good practices for any time of the year, not solely during certain liturgical seasons.
I wish you all good things as you continue your journey. May you be filled with lovingkindness and compassion. May you be peaceful and happy. May you be safe and protected from harm. May you be healthy and strong in body, mind, and spirit. May you live with joy, ease, and wellbeing. May all of your sorrows, grief, and suffering be held with great compassion. May your good fortune continue and grow. May you learn to see the arising and passing of all things with equanimity and balance. May it indeed be so for us all!