When I was a kid, not much prepared me for Easter. It was the major holiday after Christmas, of course. But there were so many other holidays first: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and, as someone who grew up in Chicagoland, Casimir Pulaski Day. My only indication Easter was around the corner was Palm Sunday. Maybe the occasional Good Friday service.
I had friends who observed Lent but I was never overly curious about it. It was something they did and something my Catholic extended family did. I couldn’t imagine giving something up for 40 days. I didn’t see the point of such short-lived self-denial. If you knew you needed less of something, why not do it year-round? (I promise I was not a killjoy of a child.)
Flash forward many years and I found myself reading up on Lent and exploring mainline services. At first, I just read daily from Bread & Wine. That sufficed for a couple of years until I felt compelled to do more. Last year I practiced Lent myself. As the weeks progressed, I was also tucking into an advance copy of Micha Boyett’s wonderful memoir Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer.
The book begins just before Advent and takes us through the rest of the church calendar year. Micha’s words opened up Lent for me in a brandnew way and I knew, even if I never observed Lent again, it was good for me to do so last year.
As the book unfolds, we learn about the Benedictine rule and how it applies to those of us not called to join a monastery. We learn about Micha’s experiences of motherhood and faith, the questions and doubts, the highs and lows. Even though I’m not a mother, I related to so much of what Micha wrote about.
Don’t we all need a safe place to hold our doubts and fears? Don’t we all need to know we’re enough? Don’t we all need to be reminded God loves us as we are?
My hope is that Found will help us prepare for Easter. It will help us make room for inner and outer growth. It will help us see the beauty in the ordinary and, in the process, see the beauty in the complexity of our lives.
Toward the end of the book, Micha writes:
There’s never a moment when you learn how to be whole … There’s only practice. There’s only noticing. There’s only the constant prayer that your heart would become what God is making it to be, that you might lift your eyes from the ground where the city is all cement and metal and danger, and toward the warm sun, which burns till the fog flees back across the expanse of the wide sky, beyond the tips of the great buildings.” –Found, p. 335-6
I invite you to join me in practicing and noticing this month. When I read Found last year, it was balm for my soul, filling in the aches and cracks. A healing experience through and through. When I thought about what we should read on The Red Couch in 2015, this book immediately came to mind. I can’t say for sure where it will lead us, but my prayer is that we would be drawn deeper into the mystery of grace and faith and grasp the all-encompassing power of God’s love.
Most of all, I pray the book’s insights will go from our hearts to our hands and feet. How will it speak to you? How will this Easter season be different? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, let’s walk it out together. Let us be women who love.
Come back Wednesday, March 25 for our discussion post with Osheta Moore. Join the Facebook group to share quotes and discuss the book throughout the month.
- The Cloister Walk– Kathleen Norris
- Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits– Michael Harter
- Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict– Carmen Acevedo Butcher
- The Sacrament of the Present Moment– Jean-Pierre de Caussade
- Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict– Esther de Waal
- Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day– Macrina Wiederkehr
Are you reading Found with us? Share your thoughts so far in the comments.