to be brave

to live beauty

to exist greater than the sum of all my small parts

as I awake to

the sound of sunrise

the pause

the beginning of prayer


I have the greatest of intentions, at least. My vow this Lent was to write something every day. Not just Instagram post captions or scribbles on a post-it, but actual, intentional writing. Admittedly, I have more days that not when I can’t find time to put down a word, or don’t even want to.

Last week, I traveled back to Virginia for business, and spent a long weekend seeing friends. A beautiful, holy time, but I arrived back in Boston exhausted, just in time to host a retreat group from my church back home at the monastery here. Another beautiful, holy time.

These last few weeks have conspired against my Lenten discipline, and here I am, disappointed in myself for not practicing the very intentionality I try to live in this monastic life. I am reminded, however, that one of the worst ways to respond to these personal failures is self-criticism and guilt. It’s almost as if the evil one attempts to wring out every last drop of darkness from these moments, and traps us in this spiral of self-destructive gloom.

This morning, instead of “getting to work” and writing, I slowly cleared my desk, brushed the dust off my watercolors, and spent an hour and a half painting. Working slowly, pulling green watery strands from my brush, not guilt-tripping myself for whatever else I could be doing during my prayer hour.

It was, as you might say, a pause. A way to remember that I am not the sum of what I do. My being is not wrapped up in what I accomplish or fail to accomplish (that even includes Lenten spiritual disciplines). I wrote the poem above in reflection of this, ironically fulfilling my Lenten discipline by postponing it.

Remember that you too, are greater than the sum of your small parts.

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