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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Conversion

These last few days have reminded me how far I still have to travel along my path of conversion.  Several conversations have frustrated me, troubled me, humbled me.  As I seek to convert others, change others, show others the errors of their ways, I am humbly reminded that the only person I can and need to convert, change, reveal errors to is me.

At the same time, my teacher nature and my current good-with-who-I-am state of being make me want to help others feel the same contentment I feel.  I want others to recognize the goodness in themselves and in the world.  I want others to feel joy and peace.  So, in my flawed ways, I try to reach out.

I tried to reach out to someone who seems to be full of hatred and bitterness by wishing him peace.  A conversation followed in which it became clear that he didn't seem too interested in cultivating the peace I wished for him.  And so I struggle to let go, to work on my own conversion and not try to force someone else's.

As this Lenten season begins, I'm thinking about transformation. I've considered the practices I'd like to work on in the upcoming days that might push me a little farther on my road of conversion. I've decided on two practices.

The first is to be more faithful to my writing.  By that I mean, during Lent (and hopefully after!) I will write daily.  I am not limiting myself to how or where I'll write.  Perhaps in my journal, perhaps here on my blog, perhaps in a letter to a friend.  I know that when I write, my body feels calmer, my spirit feels lighter, and my world makes more sense.  I wonder: Why haven't I been writing daily all along?  I don't have to wonder too long to know the answer: lack of discipline.  And so I commit myself to my practice of writing, with the hope that making this commitment will lead me to other committed practices.

The second is a practice I read about: Forgiveness Friday.

We had a family practice of weekly prayer during Lent that we called Friday Forgiveness. After the evening meal, my husband would read a story of forgiveness from the Bible. I would offer a brief reflection and then we would engage in Friday Forgiveness. Each person would ask every family member for their forgiveness, and the other person would respond by forgiving them. Each person forgave and asked for forgiveness. No particular faults were mentioned, only a general petition for forgiveness. The experience was never routine. It was a time to experience healing and peace returning to our home.

I realize, in light of the last few days, that I need to practice forgiveness and doing so weekly seems like a good start.  I need to forgive myself, a task that is not easy for a perfectionist.  I need to forgive others for their imperfections, sometimes as challenging as self-forgivenes.  And I need to ask God and everyone else to forgive me for all those times I have  created discord instead of harmony.  I haven't decided what this practice will look like.  No doubt it will be different from the family's practice described above.  But I imagine and hope that I will experience a similar sense of healing and peace.

And so I enter into this Lenten season with the hope that God's grace will help me along my path of conversion.  Have you made any commitments to conversion this Lenten season? 

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