Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent in many (not all) Christian churches. (My Eastern Orthodox pals actually started the Great Lent on Monday.) I usually look forward to Lent; I could use a chance to catch a breath, try to start off on a good spiritual footing.
Last year I wrote about forgiveness during Lent; instead of giving up chocolate or alcohol, why not give up holding a grudge? And it's still a good idea, although perhaps impossible for my more, shall we say, Irish friends. I'd often heard that Irish Alzheimer's is when you forget everything but the grudge; recently I learned of a sweet Irish lady who's suffering from dementia, who still is sore at the friend who shot her in the rear end during a paintball match a generation ago.
So: Forgiveness. Perhaps I ought to take some time each day this season to think of those who -- hard to believe, I know! -- bear some grudge against me, hate me, or just don't like me. Say a prayer for each one. Say, "God, if you would, please bless this person. Please watch over this person, please keep this person in your heart, please press that smite button that Gary Larson said you have right there on your keyboard..."
I can't recall a time when I faced Lent with less enthusiasm. I'm not real rah-rah on myself right now -- Christianity, when exercised properly, is an excellent means of stripping away pleasant illusions about ourselves -- and I seem to be facing a number of problems for which I have no solutions. At times like that you only want someone (or Someone) to hand you an answer; everything else is just noise.
That's where I am today. God, perhaps you could give me some direction here? Or maybe just do a little smiting on my behalf...?