“Sadly, some people wait until they have a heart attack or ulcers, or have a teenage child who gets into trouble, or until their spouse leaves them, or the like, to attend to their soul needs…But you don’t have to wait for disaster. You can open yourself to the possibility of nourishing your soul, and you can make it a priority.” –Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
Maybe this is a word about Lent, and maybe it’s not.
The other night my husband and I went on a date, just a little time over a plate of fabulous food and some drinks, just a few moments to gather ourselves to each other in the midst of a crazy few weeks.
We sat by the window and it was rainy and cold outside, but we knew we absolutely needed that space, needed that moment together.
We knew it was holy, that it was filling us, that it was tending to wounds and giving us healing.
This is the thing about neglect. It’s creepy and crawly and you don’t know it’s coming a lot of the time.
It’s hidden in busy schedules and missed conversations, in needing to work late or simply in trying to get a word in with two toddlers talking all day long.
So, we catch neglect before it takes us over, before we are left wondering what happened weeks ago, how we missed it again and again.
So today, tonight, tomorrow morning, we choose the people in our lives.
We choose the date night,
we choose the marriage,
we choose the goodnight kiss,
we choose the extra book at story time.
We choose a picnic at the park,
we choose a quiet morning at a coffee shop,
we choose a phone call to a family member,
or a reconciliation that’s been needed for years.
And we choose the tend to ourselves, too, that in giving space to each other, we give something back to ourselves.
This is how we beat neglect, how we lean into a season like Lent for its spaces, its holy presence that teaches us how to tend to those wounds and open up those parts of our souls we’ve been ignoring but aching to give to the light.
Let’s be brave in this, friends, brave in this good fight.