Road to Healing – Lenten Journey 2014
Different epitaphs describe the departed individual and/or a philosophy of life. On most headstones you’ll find the name of the deceased person followed by two dates – the year of birth and the year of death. Between the two dates is what I call the “time dash.” This is a small line that denotes the time between birth and death. The dash is usually the same size, whether it points to a life measured by months or one measured by decades.
Illness and disease remind us of our mortality, that is they remind us that the dash has to have some meaning. Conversely, when the dash is meaningful, illness and disease do not seem to matter.
Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier opens his spiritual autobiography with a scene that is all too
familiar. He writes:
It’s late at night as I lie in bed in the blue glow of the television set. I have the clicker in my hand, the remote control, and I go from 1 to 97, scrolling through the channels. I find nothing that warrants my attention, nothing that amuses me, so I scroll up again, channel by channel, from bottom to top. But already I’ve given it the honor of going from 1 to 97, and already I’ve found nothing. The vast, sophisticated technology and … nothing. It’s given me not one smidgeon of pleasure. It’s informed me of nothing beyond my own ignorance and my own frailties.
But then I have the audacity to go up again! And what do I find? Nothing, of course. So at last, filled with loathing and self-disgust, I punch the damn TV off and throw the clicker across the room, muttering to myself, “What am I doing with my time?”*
This is the question that becomes more pronounced when illness and disease hit us. Surely, the scenario in which Poitier finds himself is another type of disease.
When things are going well, we forgot that our time on this planet and in this life is limited. Time is the most precious of all commodities. We know this. We say it enough, with witty words like, “Life is too short…” But when it comes down to it, we take our time for granted.
As we move on our own spiritual journey and on the Road to healing, the question “What am I doing with my time?” is central to our wellbeing. There are many ways to answer this question. It could be descriptive of time-spent, such as, “I am scanning through 97 channels,” or it can be as profoundly simple as “I am living.”
Interestingly enough, you don’t have to give an accounting of this question to anyone but yourself. To who else does it matter? You know if you’re wasting, squandering, exploiting, enjoying or living the life you have. And no one else can place a value or make a judgment call on your use of time. Ultimately, you are responsible for the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of your life. They will make up the content of the time-dash one day.
You are on the Road to Healing. You, if anyone, know the value of time. Part of the 40-day Lenten Journey is to find the strength and courage to implement the discoveries you’ve made during this time, throughout the rest of the year. That is, the 40 days of Lent are to strengthen the 325 other days in the year, and ultimately to make the life changes you need to be and live the healthy life you were intended to live.
Today’s prayer is an adaption that I have made to St. Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer of the 9th hour. It’s about being. Let us pray,
Lord, bless me with the holiness to open my eyes to the beauty in the world, my ears to hear the songs in the air, my mouth so that I may speak out for righteousness, my heart so that it may think of peace, my hands so that I may work for justice, my feet so that I may walk in the paths of healing, and direct me in your commandments. Have mercy on all your creation. Amen.
This is Fr. Vazken, looking forward to continuing the Road to Healing with you tomorrow.
Photo – Guitar Magic (c) 2002 Fr. Vazken Movsesian
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