So here we are, going into Week Two of Lent. By this time most years I have already fallen flat on my face in terms of keeping to my Lenten resolution, unless of course I had undertaken a totally bogus activity like "during Lent I will not cause or in any way abet a thermonuclear holocaust." I won't criticize you if happen to have picked that one this year. For some people that even may be an admirable activity, eh Barack? And while I have always maintained that there is more value in failing than not trying, shuffling through the last four weeks of Lent with my head down and my hands in my pockets while flagellants soar to unimaginable heights of spiritual ecstasy in their happy mortification of the flesh gets old pretty quick.
It's becoming obvious that I have stopped shaving. My family has begun looking at my head like they look at the weeds in the little-used corner of the yard and are probably thinking "someone should do something about that." My wife occasionally rubs my head for amusement. It is doing what I had hoped it would do -- it provides a reminder that something is different about this time of the year. And of course, I can't fail at this one, I can't forget to do this, all I have to do is allow it to happen.
This week, I am reminded that the most significant spiritual events in my life were things that I did nothing to cause. They were not the result of feats of piety or excellence in asceticism. They were times when I had simply given up, asked God for help, and abandoned myself to what was going to happen.
I got married that way. It's true. Sounds terrible, I know, but it wasn't then and certainly hasn't been at all terrible for the past thirty-nine years. Without exposing all the juicy details, suffice it to say that it was not my plan to marry the cute little blond from the apartment upstairs, even though in fact I was the one that posed the question. We had only known each other for about eight weeks, and she was way out of my league. I thought that she would say "ewww" and run screaming from the prospect (she seemed that kind of girl), thus solving the problem of me having a complete lack of ability to keep my hands to myself. There was no other time in my life when I was so clueless about what was going on, and no other time when taking the counter-intuitive action was so crucial to all that was to follow. I remember just before I asked the question, feeling like I was a diver standing on the cliffs of Acapulco wondering, when I jump, would I miss the rocks below?
I am headed inexorably toward hairiness.
Thanks be to God.