What Can I Possibly Give Up?

The Second Week in Lent

Lent traditionally invites us to give up something. After the fire, that invitation took on a different meaning. We had given up many of our possessions, so now, what can I possible give up?I muttered to God with a hint of blame and self-pity. Then it came. Give up your self-serving ego. Others have suffered just as your family has suffered. Give up your desire to look at another with any judgment. Give up self-pity. Give up blaming others. Give up asking, “why us?”  Give up finding answers to events and questions that can only be seen “through a glass, dimly.” Give up the idea that we won’t have ashes in our lives. Give up thinking that you are beyond human suffering. Give up the voices that say, “you deserved to have a fire because you are not worthy of good things.” Give up the voices that say, “you must be finding great favor with God to be tested that much.”  What?   

Letting go and giving up are beautifully healing and hard things to do.  

In all of this I am reminded of the prayer that I received from my spiritual director many years ago:

The Welcoming Prayer

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome
I welcome everything
That comes to me at this moment
Because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings,
Emotions, persons,
Situations and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security,
I let go of my desire for approval,
I let go of my desire for control.
I will let go my desire
To change any situation,
Condition, person, or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God
And the healing action and grace within.

Not only during Lent but every hour of every day I repeat this to myself. It is not human to “let go” in this way. May we have the gift of being able to do so at least now and then.
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President 
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