Here we are in Week Three of Lent, and I am in totally uncharted seas. I've never in my life been able to maintain Lenten resolves for this long a period. There is a certain genius to my pastor's hairy vision, for as you see from the pictures, I am in fact still growing hair, and if that were not enough, the more hair I grow, the more obvious it is that I'm growing hair.
A cool part about this particular act of penance is that there really is not much of reason to do it except as penance. Lent is not supposed to be self-help-feel-good kind of thing. Lent is not supposed to be a convenient time to hop on the eat right-exercise more-lose weight bandwagon. Remember that traditional penances are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is about spiritual and not physical health, and yes, I know, there can be a significant connection between the two.
However, as you can also see from the pictures, this particular Lenten activity has resulted in absolutely no physical improvement whatsoever, but it has kept me on track thinking about my relationship with God. This week I happened upon some stuff about Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Seems she spent years in a state that is known as the "dark night of the soul." It is a state where she neither felt the presence of God, nor did she feel any of the emotional solace of being in a relationship with God. She admitted that she could not pray. Now there is a lot of interesting spirituality around the subject of the "dark night," and follow the link if you want some interesting reading.
Of importance to me and my Lenten journey, however, was how she coped with it. She said, and I'm paraphrasing here, I don't know if anything I do is of any worth to God, so I just try to live my life correctly and let him take what he wants from it.
It may be that when I die and I am asked to give an accounting of my life, all I may be able to say is "I grew hair for Lent in the Spring of 2014."
Three more weeks of Lent, three more weeks to reflect on my relationship with God.