Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Treat Yo'Self! It's Leap Day!

If you think about it, the whole idea of a Leap Day is ridiculous.  We've been to the moon, we've cracked an atom, we've traveled through time (okay, we've thought about traveling through time, preferably in a police box) -- we should be able to design a calendar that has the same number of days every single year. Use daylight savings, etc. to add an hour of sleep to six days a year, for God's sake.  I want that 6 hours!

But that's not the system we have.  Which stinks if you're born on February 29th and care, like Dinah Shore or Ja Rule.

Ja Rule rues the day he was born. 

(Ja Rule? Okay, I admit, I don't know who he is, either. Not that many famous people have birthdays on February 29th. It only happens once every four years, after all. The point remains.)

But for the last few leap days I've been thinking, maybe the whole thing's an invitation. An unusual day to do something unusual, something you wouldn't normally do or haven't ever done. Like, if you ever wanted to go bungee jumping or sky diving (although God knows why you would want to do that), this might be the day.

Or if you've never had a massage, this might be a good day to do it. (And baby, as long as you don't choose skinny Thai women walking all over you, which is a little bit more intense than most of us will ever want, you will not regret it.)

Seriously, it's not a pleasant experience. It's like Cirque du Soleil, but you're the trapeze.
That guy in the photo is probably dead.

Or you haven't been to a comic book store since you were 11 (that's a sad story) -- Leap Day.  Or the Art Institute/Metropolitan Museum of Art/the theater -- Leap Day.  Or you've wanted to volunteer and you've been saying you were going to but you just haven't really pursued it -- take a step on Leap Day.

Or you've got a book in you. Chapter One, Leap Day.

Or you've been avoiding a hard conversation. Leap Day.  Come on -- what better day to take the leap?

The bottom line is, as the prophet Ferris Bueller states, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Don't miss it.  Don't wait for tomorrow.  Leap today.

If you haven't seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and don't know what to do today, start there.  
You won't regret it. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Love in a Hopeless Place

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...                                        
                                                                                          --  Jack Kerouac

It's not exactly a Lenten prayer, is it?  

And let's leave room for the commonplace, Jack.  Most of life takes place there, and a lot of grace hides there.  (Plus, doesn't yawning just feel great?)

But that sense of being "mad to be saved" resonates.   Sometimes the grace we're given -- maybe moreso during Lent -- is a greater realization of just how far afield we've steered the ship (i.e. what total jerks we are).

It's a grace we can readily run from, but we shouldn't. It's the knowing that we're lost that makes us look again for the path.  It's the facing of the truth of who we are that allows us to accept and love the truth of others. And it's the honest, contrite offering of what we see in ourselves that enables us to experience the miracle that is God's love.

The hip hop star Rihanna has a song called "We Found Love". The repeated refrain: "We found love in a hopeless place."

When you come right down to it, that's where love is always to be found.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Ash Wednesday

Today begins Lent, the Christian season of purification and preparation for the heart of the Christian drama, the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Generally, Lent is a season of sobriety.  If you go to Mass today or in the next 6 weeks you're almost 100% certain to hear admonitions to mortify yourselves, to give up something, something important so as to come closer to Christ.

There's much to be said for a period of mortification; it helps to clean out the attic of the soul, to make room for something fresh and new.

And yet, giving up something just because we're told to give something up can be purposeless and empty, too.  Consider our example, Jesus; in the New Testament he's not shown fasting from food or drink or company or any good thing. No, the mortification Jesus undertook was to do what he knew to be right -- to preach the word, give comfort to those who were sick or marginalized, to live the life God called him to -- despite all misunderstanding, pressure and threat. Even as the cross casts its long shadow our ritual these weeks, it's important to remember that the Jesus who heads to Jerusalem did so not ruled by fear (though certainly afraid), but by love, a love that was courageous.

If you're looking for a project this Lent, ask yourself each day, how can I be courageous in the way I love?  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

See You Real Soon

I am zipping around this week with friends and family, so I don't think I'll be posting again until mid next week.  Have great days!