This week I saw the hashtag #moremaintenance. It was posted by Keith Anderson who used it to describe how he was doing this winter after dropping some weight and getting healthier but not until Keith accepted that he needed more maintenance than he used to! The hashtag resonated with me.
This Lent my usual spiritual practices of devotional reading, silent meditation, and getting out in the big world of nature have been slipping out of my mind and fingertips. I know that all these practices bring me to God’s space instead of my anxiety space yet it is hard going this year. Turns out that I need more, rather than less, maintenance. Longer and more frequent times to sit, walk, pray, and deeply listen. These practices help me get re-focused when my attention wanders to this temptation or distraction or another.
I am not trying to drop weight. Or maybe I am. Maybe I am trying to drop the weight of distraction and lethargy, despair and ho-hum. When Jesus says “Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens” he is saying “get off your spiritual butt friend and come to me. I will give you rest from your restlessness. I will give you something worth spending your life doing!” On the other hand he also said to his disciples when they shied away from the heavy lifting “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Here is another reason this more maintenance hashtag resonates with me. During this Lenten season my wife and I are diving deep into another spiritual and very physical adventure. We are purchasing and getting back into shape a small apartment building for the purpose of helping elders (yikes, we are elders now too!) who are needing a more affordable place to live so they can stay in our town where rents are increasing day by day. Small apartments. Easy to care for. Walking distance to the village. A great vision and something that we can only do if both of us, in our own ways, and together, increase our spiritual maintenance. Turns out we really are high maintenance people!
I had been planning on taking a sabbatical this spring and now, instead of Sabbath, we are both going into high gear. My task this Lent is to maintain connection with Spirit, moment by moment, in whatever I am doing, whether that is painting the apartments or sitting with a parishioner who, like me, is hefting the weight of life’s surprises.
Lent is about anticipating the (lent) lengthening light of spring under the light of the Christ who is inviting me right now, to give up what is holding me back, so I can pick up, rest in and act in the Big Love.
(As always, thanks to Kyle Oliver for his website Creative Common Prayer and his encouragement to re-mix inspirations, including the hashtag #moremaintenance.)