“All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary…” Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode
In my experience, New Year’s resolutions have nothing on Lent. Lent, at least in the last three years, has been about rediscovering my passion for silence. My busy life of motherhood, work, and self-care is often boisterous with the sounds of hectic greetings and good nights, shopping and to-do lists, emails, texts and phone calls, the television or car radio playing. More frequently than I prefer, part of the soundtrack includes my complaints. I yearn for more time, more space, and yes, fellow parents I will admit it, more freedom. This need to escape that which gives me meaning and purpose further lets me know that a return to basics is always good.
I used to ponder becoming a contemplative. A bonafide, live in a cloistered monastery and pray nonstop, contemplative. Inspired by Thomas Merton but especially by Kathleen Norris, I wondered if I couldn’t somehow have the best of both worlds. Witty singleton teacher during the school year, desert mother in training during the summer. Working with young people and passing on my passion for literature and writing. Praying the Liturgy of the Hours as much as possible. Praying the rosary daily instead of weekly. I planned to do a silent retreat at a desert monastery, to see if I was called to join the order. While I made decisions to take my life in a completely different direction, I have always cherished my love for contemplation. I simply don’t make the time or space or freedom. But Lent is that opportunity.
In the first few weeks of this Lenten season, I have done a lot with my increased free time. I have read three novels, only one of which was for teaching purposes. I have lost seven pounds and recommitted myself to healthy eating and exercise. I hosted my tenth annual Oscar party and, as usually happens despite my worries, fed a houseful of old friends. I have rediscovered my patience with my beautiful M and we have embarked on new mother-daughter adventures. And I have prayed a lot more.