On my way to a meeting this morning just a short bit from Camp Stevens, I heard a portion of an NPR Here and Now story about an online community for cancer patient support. Honestly, I didn’t hear enough to get the whole story (other than that the girl who started it is a bit of a celebrity for being authentic and strong) because I got distracted by DFTBA and a scripture reference made during the interview.
DFTBA is new to me, which probably speaks more to how oblivious I am about current culture than anything else. It stands for Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. This, combined with the following – also from the interview – got me thinking a bit about Ash Wednesday:
… [Esther] reminds me that a short life can also be a good and rich life, that it is possible to live with depression without being consumed by it, and that meaning in life is found together, in family and friendship that transcends and survives all manner of suffering. As the poet wrote in the Bible’s Song of Solomon, “Love is strong as death.” Or perhaps even stronger.
Ash Wednesday and Lent are usually draped in a penitential spirit, remembering our mortality above all other things. There is an appropriate sadness to the season – one that is welcome and important. But I’m also intrigued by this idea that even in the face of depression, cancer, death of loved ones, or other real, horrible challenges in life, we can still remember to be awesome.
A couple weeks ago I sat in my hairdressers chair as she cut inches off the back and put me back to “normal.” She made a random comment about the death of several Ramona area pastors over the past year, and her confusion over it all. She said something like: “I don’t understand why God wouldn’t save them if they’re doing good work.” (Note: this is what happens when your hairdresser knows what you do.)
I couldn’t leave it alone. I tried to offer some sort of rambley response about how I think God’s role in the world isn’t to step in and fix or change things, but to sit with us through the mire, the depression, the cancer, the death of loved ones, and the real, horrible challenges in life. God offers us grace. God’s love is stronger than death.
I’ve been prepping Eliot (age 5) for Lent. His priest of a father might have some theological difference in my approach, but the line I’m using for this year is this:
“We aren’t perfect and God loves us anyway. We are made from dirt and we’ll go back to the dirt.”
I think I might add:
“Eliot, [even in your mortality,] Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.”
Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly-ish post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!