Advent, Lent, Rote, and Renewal

13908834_10154349701005960_7537953136452448769_oYa know how you do something over, and over, and over again and it becomes rote. Part of who you are, the core of your being. There are many things we do sing, breathe, blink, stretch, contort our faces in ways that show the underlying sentiment, or not. My face has a mind all it’s own betraying my thoughts without intention from myself. Twenty five years of being an active, practicing Catholic there are things that are rote: The Gloria, The Penitential Act, The Creed, The Lord’s prayer. We start praying, I start saying. With the changes in the prayers a few years ago it’s taken a while for these prayers to become rote again, I’m almost there. Sometimes a level of thoughtfulness happens and paying attention to the words begins to happen anew. Being present at Mass, or Adoration is such a gift, one that lives in the Hope of the Miracle we’re about to participate.

Ponder 1Here we are in the great Feast of Christmas celebrating the Incarnation of our God into the daily living of our lives. The readings leading up to the Feast have focused on “the end of times”. That our life comes to an end, there will be an end of the world, that Christ will return in glory, all of this serves as a sometimes not so gentle reminder to get our lives in order so we’re prepared and ready. Each season offers us the opportunity to prepare, to grow, change, examine, repent, give up, give over, let go, embrace and become more of the person God asks us to be.

CAM00812This Feast of Christmas we went to visit nearby family for a few days. Christmas morning we attended the local parish Mass, arriving a bit early for some quiet time, and get seats. Something in the pastor’s column caught my attention, and I had this moment of realization of how I move from season to season, year after year often by rote, without taking the time to pay attention to the opportunities this particular season offers. And how we move from the great Feast of Christmas, celebrating the spectacular birth of Jesus, to preparing for his death, and his resurrection. The preparation time (Lent) for Easter is longer than the preparation time (Advent) for Christmas. The Birth is important, it’s a gift; his death leads to new life, a new way of living. Lent seems to focus on “giving up” and “sacrifice” which is important, as giving up and sacrifice make room for God’s movement.

Both seasons offer a time to refocus, reconnect, listen, participate and actively pursue the gift of God in life.

This got me thinking about a few things:

refocusing what I’m doing in the quilting world. In this I have asked a couple of people for help with developing my writing skills. I want to write better and their help will be invaluable. Part of this is working on building with specific goals in mind, and hopefully some flexibility in how to achieve those goals.

letting go of frustration about where I think I want to be in the quilting world, and appreciating what I have. I had ideas years go about where I wanted to be, what I should have accomplished. I’m not there yet. And there are very good reasons. Some of the experiences have hurt deeply causing me to pull back; daily life has prevented achieving those goals. I have work to do to get where I want to be in the quilting world. I’m not sure what I need to do at this moment to get where I want to be, but the adventure is fun.

there is one God-given gift that I want to exercise more, and that is helping quilters to grow in their own confidence and skill level. As I wrote this morning an experience I had a few years ago came to mind, and it’s something I want more of. Well there’s more than one experience, and something someone said. This feels vague, but it’s more for me to think about how to take these things deeper and use this gift well.

In this moment I thank God for Advent, and Lent. For the time of preparation and thinking. For the opportunity to grow, and become who he wants me to be. For the opportunities and experiences both glorious and deeply painful. For the gift of helping people. I thank God for quilting, for inspiring me to making quilting rote and new again, for the opportunity and ability to explore. For the opportunities to teach. Thank you God for the gift of quilt making.

God bless,

Teri

 

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