A Place at the Table: Day 29

I know it’s been awhile since one of these posts has made it up .  Thank you for your patience.  These past few days have been hectic, and I’m now more than a full week behind.  Holy Week will be even busier. I’m going to do my best to catch up and keep up in the closing days of Lent.

My plan is to consolidate my reflections from the past week into posts covering perhaps as many as three days at a time.  Saving time is one reason. Another is that I’ve arrived at a point in this fast where the fast has become my new routine.  It’s a little depressing, but not unexpected.  Doing anything repeatedly for almost a month makes it a habit, and all habits run on autopilot.  I think this new reality has contributed to the laps in my blog posts: some days, my notes haven’t amounted to much.   There seems to be less to discover each day.

Yet, this in itself is a form of discovery. It’s part of the journey – of faith and of life.  All of us have to contend with the mundane.  No matter how much we enjoy something – or how good or successful we may be at it – there comes a time when we need a break, a change of scenery. I’m sure there are days when the last thing Roger Federer wants to do is hit yet another tennis ball and Warren Buffet feels like he’ll scream if he has to analyze yet another corporate earnings report. I know this because as much as I love writing these blogs and composing sermons and plumbing the depths of Scripture for meaning, there comes a point during the week where I have put it aside.  The freedom to take a break not only makes life more pleasant, it also helps us be more effective in our work by allowing us to engage the task(s) before us with rested minds and fresh eyes.

It occurs to me that one of the grinding effects of poverty is that the poor often lack the power and resources to change their scenery.  I can’t imagine waking up to face another can of Chef of Boyardee – not for the thirtieth day in a row but the thirtieth month or the thirtieth year.  The soul-numbing consequences of such a life must be as dire as the health effects.

I remember a woman who worked in the preschool at the first church I pastored.  Because she had kids and her earnings were low, she always received a nice tax refund each year.  Every summer, she would take that money and take her family to the beach for a week.  I used to wonder to myself, “Why don’t you save that money or invest it for your future?”  Now I think I understand: she was desperate for a change of scenery.  I can’t fault her for that.

Lord, in the words of Saint Francis, help us to seek to understand more than to be understood.  Amen.

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