Many Christians are in the middle of the Lenten journey right now, including myself. For eastern Orthodox believers this means fasting, prayer, longer and more frequent church services, and alms giving.
A couple of years ago, my doctor told me that the vegan fasting was not a good idea for me because of the vitamin deficiencies that were showing up in my blood work as well as other health concerns. I have written in an earlier post about the off-handed comment a priest made when I asked him about my health and fasting which indicated if I were really serious about achieving sainthood I would fast regardless of health issues. I realize that by sharing this I am opening up myself and the church to criticism. But it was something I had to face the truth about: I needed to discover what it was I really believed about God so that I could move forward.
I worry that some reading might think I am looking for fault in the Church. I am not. This path really has to do with things that happened a long time before I ever converted to Orthodoxy. It is about seeing God through a trauma shaped lens and the distortions that result.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that right before Lent I started working with a “fellow traveller,” in my ACA program as well as a study group committed to working through the steps together. It seemed the right time to go further with this work and continue the healing process in earnest. But to recover, trauma has to be brought out of denial and named. It just so happens that the steps I am climbing right now are steps two and three: the ones that specifically talk about a relationship with a higher power or God.
And so during Lent, I will be focusing on at least the beginnings of looking at and letting go of some god related trauma. It is a long story and will be broken up into segments. I don’t expect it to resonate with everyone, nor should it. My goal is to tell the story gently yet truthfully and release these things so that this Pascha I might celebrate true freedom in Christ.
Peace and love,