Olivia Newport Lenten table

This Lenten table arrangement reminds me to be empty before God and reach to him for filling me up.

Every year about this time my friend threatens to roll me in Bubblewrap until Easter. It’s for my own good, she says.

For the last few years, it seems that as soon as Lent begins, I start hurting myself.

It started the year I was hosting a simple weekly bread and soup supper during Lent for a group from church. One week, when my vanity urged me to clean the floor before their arrival, I slipped on a wet spot and fell into the mop handle. With my face. Ouch is right.

Every year it’s something. This year, on the Thursday morning after Ash Wednesday, I managed to first smack my iPad against my nose while reading blogs (don’t ask) and a few minutes later find a hidden edge in the shower and slice open a finger. I guess if you’re going to bleed, the shower is a better place than most. All this was before seven in the morning.

Thus the Bubblewrap threat was duly renewed.

Trust me, my self-flagellation is not intentional. If anything, it’s ludicrous in its Lenten predictability.

As I nurse the wound in my finger and try to type around it, it comes to me that small injuries during Lent serve a purpose. They remind me of my earthly dusty frailty. They remind me of my ashen broken state. They remind me of my need for healing. They remind me to turn from self-sufficiency toward the mercy of God. They remind me to put myself in God’s care.

I pray you do the same—without having to hit yourself upside the head first.