Saturday, March 04, 2017

On doing my best

It 's true, we cannot reach Christ's fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
                       Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Savior's purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev'n as he.
                       In both let 's do our best.

If like me you are an inveterate Maker of Resolutions, tempted to use Lent as 
another opportunity to tackle that raft of New Year intentions 
that somehow never quite got off the ground, 
it's all too easy to press an overwhelm button as Lent begins.
After all, if I start looking hard at myself, in a kind of penitential way, 
then there's just so much that needs fixing
...and I want to manage it all before tea-time.

A very wise priest, after hearing my Confession, once told me that I was not 
on any account to make self improvement my next Grand Project - 
but I'm afraid it's a lesson I'm slow to learn.
This can make Lent somewhat discouraging.
I want to use every second of those forty days to Build a Better Kathryn, 
which means that by bedtime on Ash Wednesday
I'm frequently exhausted, bad-tempered and in sore need
 of the gin, wine or chocolate (one particularly dreadful year it was
all three, PLUS fiction) that I've rashly determined to go without until Easter.

At this point one of two things might happen.
Either I might give myself a break, allow one lapse, 
and pick up the discipline in the morning, or I throw 
all my toys out of the pram, wailing that if I can't manage all of it
and more, then clearly I am doomed, DOOMED I tell you, 
and there's no point in trying at all. 

The thing is that I do really long to be holy,
but Herbert is right, of course. 
I'm never going to match Jesus, either in resisting temptation 
or in any other respect - after all he's JESUS - 
but that doesn't mean that the whole venture is pointless. 
It's always good to try to rebalance one's life
and seek a clearer focus on God. 
But it's a good idea to approach this with realism - 
and a measure of perseverance too. 

Which means that, if I miss a day or two of blogging
as we travel through Lent together, 
I'm not just going to abandon the whole project. 
Blogging my way to holiness sounds pretty unlikely, 
but it's a discipline that has helped me 
in the past - and it's the one I'm committed to this year...
so all I can do is my best.

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