Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the annual invitation “to the observance of a Holy Lent.” Of course, there is then the annual question, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Or maybe better, “What’s your Lenten discipline this year?” Honestly, I don’t know. As with most things, I’ve procrastinated. That leads to me worrying about what I’m supposed to do. Anxiety builds. I delay some more. More anxiety. Rinse and repeat until Holy Week.
“What am I supposed to do?” If there is one question that sums up my life, that’s it. So often it’s been about expectation and duty. I want to do this, but I’m supposed to do that. (It should be no surprise that I’m an older brother.) Always the best student. Well-behaved (at least in school). “You’ll do great things, Kevin.” For a while, I was like a Ferrari on the Autobahn. Then the wheels came off when I left the doctoral program in 2009. Yes, that was a bit of a fireball.
Since then I’ve had trouble finding new wheels and getting traction. “Who am I?” had become fused with “What do I do?” “What do I want to do?” always took a backseat. Don’t get me wrong. I loved studying theology and still do. That’s what made leaving the program so difficult. How could something that gave me so much joy cause me so much pain? How do I trust myself again when I want something? Of course, the question of what I wanted was also tied up with what I felt I was supposed to do. (You can always count on me to complicate matters.)
Even when I think about finding God’s call for me, my mind tends to phrase it as “What does God expect me to do?” Again, repeat the procrastination cycle mentioned above. I wish I had answers to give or sage wisdom, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, maybe my Lenten discipline can be to start sharing some of my thoughts on here again. Even if no one actually reads it, at least writing it out could help me process and start to distinguish the different strands of questions in my life .
Anyway, I hope to share some more of my thoughts tomorrow.