My Lenten sacrifice was to give up chocolate and over the past two weeks, for the most part I have considerably cut down and I am glad to say that I am making progress towards abstaining. I hope it is a step that will strengthen my faith since I am having difficultly maintaining a balance of work and prayer life. I am facing a lot of uncertainty at the moment and I know that maintaining a strong individual spiritual life should be connected and supported by a greater community. I don't have any friends near me that I could count as being supportive of or even aware of that side of me. I go to Mass alone and pray alone and for the most part I like that. But it would help if I had friends that thought about these issues as I did. Am I mad to think every day about whether or not Christianity is true?
Today's Lenten prayer from Henri Nouwen speaks about how we define our contributions to life based on our worldly accomplishments but that living a Christian life means finding an inner freedom out of solitude, a lonely place, a quiet center, so that we can appreciate not what we conquer, but what is given to us.
A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive. When we cling to the results of our actions as the only way of self-identification, then we become defensive and possessive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life....In solitude, we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.
It's good food for thought and it reminds me of a former classmate of mine, with whom I had had a falling out over something trivial. Ultimately, it came from her continuous competitiveness with me that included subtle put downs about my own accomplishments or even character traits, while boasting shamelessly about hers. This was someone who could never be alone and by her own admission, was wildly insecure and could not take criticism.
But I digress... I miss sharing little things with friends and I don't know how to make new ones.