Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Frozen Memory from God

Lent has begun, and I'm feeling uninspired and lazy. I find myself mostly praying for Jason as he is truly fasting this time, and I know what a physically demanding job he has, and how hungry he gets. Since I'm growing a baby I'm not fasting, just giving up meat, which really isn't a huge sacrifice for me. Dairy products would be much more challenging. And if it weren't for them I'd be failing miserably at getting the protein that is recommended in the Brewer's Diet, a diet that I learned about in the Bradley Method class Jason and I are taking. I've been reading Schmemmen's Great Lent as well as Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Bradley. With both I find myself reading with wonder. I feel like I'm desperately trying to grasp everthing and make it my own. I'm the type of person who has to learn slowly, with extra help, but I pretend like I get everything whip-fast. I'm scared to admit that I don't get it, and haven't fully processed it, and would like another example and some more time. Foolish pride!

Today I was thinking about Orthodoxy and Natural Chilbirth, my two subjects of constant research and interest, and my mind diverted back to my memories of learning how to snowboard. I learned going to Mammoth Mountain several times in a year several years ago. (That feels weird to type several years ago - it doesn't seem like it was that long ago.) The first time I hated every minute of it. I wanted someone to come and rescue me off the mountain. How dare my friends take me up such a steep slope, are they trying to kill me!? I remember pain, anger, embarassment, impatient teachers that I was even more impatient with and the thought that I would never do it again. Any instruction I was given made no sense and I seemed to do the opposite, and with people around me watching me, I felt like I would never be able to do it. Somehow, I ended up going again and it was a fridgid Mammoth day. It was snowing and the visibility was poor. I went up the lift and I'm sure I took out a good 12 people getting off of it, but decided I'd like to snowboard by myself for the day to learn on my own. I was given well wishes and a walky talky, just in case I managed to slide off the trail and ended up trapped in a snow bank, behind the trees. I found myself frustrated at first, exhausted in the freezing cold snow, panting, but finally letting go of all the confusing instructions and my own awkwardness. I was able to "feel" the snow beneath me, and I surrendered. The terrain was bumpy but powder soft and I learned to carve and take each bump with grace. I was all alone, able to celebrate my small victory.

Perhaps the Lord Himself sent me that memory. It reminded me that I don't have to understand everything right now. I don't even have to pretend that I do. It would be better if I don't. And that in time, on my own, I will get it, at least some of it. More than I do now. But I should persevere. I've got lot of work to do.

The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephram the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life!
Take me from the spirit of sloth,
faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King!
Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.


Blogger Thomas Ham said...

Beautiful thoughts Lauren... We will pray for you this Lenten season. Also, if you ask me, one of the most beautiful prayers that have ever touched my ears. Thank God it's a prayer that made it past my ears and peirced my heart... I wish more prayers would do that to me, but I guess I'm just cold hearted and need to work on that!

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that story, Lauren. I feel the same way right now. My husband has been doing a really harsh fast this week and I've just been trying not to gorge myself. Good luck!

I love that prayer as well, and I think it is kind of funny that basically every orthodox blog that you read has that prayer on it somewhere this week. It is a great prayer.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Rebeca said...

Great post. My husband and I are also reading Great Lent- it's beautiful, and challenging, and rich. I too learned to snowboard at Mammoth! And it's hard to "get" when someone is just telling you how to do it. You really do just have to experience it somehow. Great analogy.

2:59 PM  
Blogger sara said...

wise words, lauren and well said. may your lent be fruitful!

3:11 PM  

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