Sunday, 22 April 2018

Making space to connect

We are now well into the Easter Season, but I want to look back and reflect on Lent. There are years when I have found a way to do Lent well. There are years when I haven't.

I think this time of fasting is important ... not because I see fasting as being valuable in its own right ... rather I think its value is found in creating the space to encounter God more fully, and having a time of the year set aside to at least attempt to do that feels important. There are years when a traditional form of fasting from food has helped me, and times when creating space for silence has been an important addition to our routine. This year I was looking for something different.

I encounter God in prayer, but I also encounter God in the encounter with others. I really believe in this "created in God's image" thing and that there is something of God in each of those we meet. This year I decided I would make space for God by making space for people.

I set myself the target of writing one card a day, to somebody. Real cards, written with a pen, with envelopes and stamps and everything! Sometimes for events or occasions but mostly just to say "hello, I am thinking of you today". 

It was a way of setting aside time to think about somebody, to stop and remember them, to maybe think about what part they had played or do play in my life, to wonder about what their life looks like right now, their joys and their struggles, the things I know and the things I don't. It proved a different way of engaging to snatched conversations, to a Christmas card written when I have neither the time nor the energy to really think about it, to scrolling past people's lives on social media ... It was a good thing to do.

I wasn't entirely successful. I didn't quite manage every single day but during the 46 days I wrote almost 40 cards which in the midst of everything else feels like a reasonable attempt.

And I know there is no chance I am going to keep up writing to someone every day: I'm not even going to pretend I'm going to try. But something in this discipline has been extremely valuable and maybe there's a chance I will make more time for continuing this than I would have done otherwise.

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