In the manner of the famous groundhog, I arose today, stuck my head out from under the covers, and saw the shadows of my hairs cast upon the crown of my mostly bald head -- three more weeks of Lent.
Entering into this, the fourth week of Lent and into the fourth week of my resolve to give up shaving as my Lenten activity, all is well. I've never been able to maintain my resolve this long, so this is all "undiscovered country" as Klingon Chancellor Gorkon might have said to Captain Kirk in the 1991 Star Trek movie if only they had been at the parish Friday night Lenten soup and bread dinner instead of in negotiations about the fate of the Klingon Empire. And although my goal was to use hair growth as vehicle to lighten up a bit, to remind myself that I have a good relationship with God, this is in fact Lent, and there is a need to also look at those things that might be impeding that relationship. It's a kind of extended couples' retreat where the goal is to renew a positive connection with and to establish a deeper understanding and acceptance of one another. This means looking at sin.
To confront our sinfulness is not an exercise in guilt, but one of acceptance of reality. It's like being a boxer -- telling yourself you're the greatest may get you pumped up for fight, but you are going to end up unconscious if you don't understand that you drop your right when you jab with your left. Confronting our sinfulness is the necessary first step to finding our way to God. Ask any twelve-stepper . They will tell you that they were, are, and will always be an addict, but knowing and accepting that is the beginning of recovery. Sin is our reminder that we are human. Lent is our reminder that God has known that all along and has got it handled.
qa'lIj, ghogh, yIQoy. (Klingon for "Listen to your spirit.")