February 16, 2010

Lent: Yellow Mums and Three Sticks of Gum

A couple of weeks ago, right in the middle of a long stretch of gray days, I went to Kroger and purchased a brightly colored bouquet of mums. It had all the colors I wanted--hot pink, bright orange. Sadly, however, the bouquet had no yellow flowers, my favorite color. But I put the flowers on the kitchen table so that I could admire them. After a few days, I saw that the once-clear water was turning orange. The mums, of course, were dyed; and with each passing day, the orange mums released more color and slowly changed to yellow, the color I love. So for me the mums became more beautiful.

Ash Wednesday begins the forty days of self-examination that precede Easter. When I was a child, I gave up something different each week. Usually, it was ice cream or television. Now that I am older, I give up something that enables me to grow deeper into God's presence.

This may sound funny to you, but this year I am limiting myself to three sticks of gum a day. How does not chewing gum relate to my walk with God? I need to be more disciplined by spending time in silence, reflecting on God's word, and listening to what God is telling me.

By being mindful to the amount of gum I chew, I am hoping to become more mindful of how God is present in silence. I want to be completely open to what God might reveal. I want to create unencumbered space for God to speak. My goal for Lent is to let God open my heart in ways that were not possible before.

I am hoping that whatever needs to drain out of me, like the orange dye from the flower, will do so, and that the true color of my soul will be revealed.

What about you? How can you become more open to God? And have can God help reveal the beauty of your soul?

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, Indiana - jreed46038@hotmail.com

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