During lent I spend a lot of time thinking about my relationships.
There are all sorts of relationships: from the relationship I have with the auto mechanic, the local waitress, my kitchen or with my cat.
Addiction, for example, represents a sort of relationship. The object manipulates time, transforms priorities and envelops resources. Take alcohol – it costs time in hangovers, diminishes our other relationships, and costs money. A little bit of a relationship might be good for increasing society. But for some, the relationship becomes a golden calf, a false relationship that trumps all others.
Christians believe in relationships that are beneficial – no surprise here. Our orienting relationship is towards Jesus Christ, who helps us manage the many other relationships around us. His generosity becomes our generosity. Are our relationships making us more generous? Or tired and stingy? Are they building us up? Or discouraging us? Are they controlling us? Or can we recognize the limits of our own body and temper?
I think this is why we have Lenten disciplines: to reorder or relationships. Don’t assume it will be perfect – but just a little more. Start with this: take a deep breath. Thank God you are alive. That is the first relationship.