My pledge for Lent shall be to honor hope through my thoughts, words, and actions. The inverse is my greatest fault these days, for too often and too easily I entertain thoughts of despair, especially with regard to lonesomeness and my present vocation of being single.
When I used to write in my diaries as a little girl, I promised myself that I would never write down my sadnesses because I didn't want to give any sort of permanence to them, nor did I want to memorialize them by reading about them later. As a result, I have volumes and volumes of beautiful diaries, full of the joys of my childhood, adolescence, and early 20s. They are a delight for me to read.
Most of all, this outlook of life and approach to writing caused my first 27 years to be exceedingly happy. No matter what challenges or obstacles I faced (and I was given my portion), I would search for happiness each and every day, and then--once I found it--I would write about it, always believing that it was there to be discovered.
But, someone convinced me, when I began this blog in 2008, that I ought to write about my sadness to make myself more "real" to my readers. This would be not only a fundamental change in my writing style but also in my living.
But I did it. I took the suggestion.
In small degrees, I began to search for sadness, and I wrote about it to make myself more real, thinking (somehow) that sadness is a more authentic feeling than happiness, when really the opposite is true.
And while perhaps I may have achieved conveying this "realness" to my readers to some degree, I have also given glory to falsehoods and burdened myself with a sense of pervasive sadness. This self-perceived and self-created pervasive sadness is something I must see time and time again, its blandness staring back at me every time I log onto to the pages of this blog and begin to write.
Perhaps this is why I have uncomfortably felt that ages 28, 29, and 30 have been the saddest of my life. For the first time in my life, I have submitted to giving glory to sadness and attention to despair.
But I do not want to be like this. I never did. I merely took someone's suggestion, and it has grown like a weed into this. I trust the writer of my childhood and adolescence much more than he who advised me as an adult.
And so, at least for the next 40 days of Lent, I shall hand my writing pen back to the author of my diaries. I shall let myself look at this world in the way I originally intended. I shall give no voice to the falsehood of despair, and I shall search for happiness until I find it, while simultaneously believing that I already have it found. Yes, hope and happiness are most certainly there, ready for the discovery, both within myself and within this world. If the young girl of me could find it, then all the more can this adult woman find it, who has acquired some added wisdom to help her along the way.
Welcome, Lent, in all of your dark sadness, to the bright Hope I shall use to hold you. During this season of waiting and longing, I shall lift others and myself up, through the use of encouraging words of truth and hope, both in my mind, on paper, and in my actions. I shall not speak in the dark, distorting shadow of dispair. I shall be silent until those fleeting moments pass, just as they always do. There is not a better time to uphold Hope than in the season of Lent which begs for it!