By Tammy Townsend Denny, TI Executive Director
For Lent, I am reading Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation. Admittedly, my previous attempts to read Merton have left me feeling rather dumb. His words confused me. His sentence structures baffled me. I would read the same paragraph a few times and have no idea what he was trying to say.
It wasn’t time to read Merton, but now it is.
Only 20 pages into New Seeds of Contemplation, these words from Merton jumped off the page at me:
“For how can I receive the seeds of freedom if I am in love with slavery and how can I cherish the desire of God if I am filled with another and an opposite desire?”
Maybe the words spoke to me because my husband and I are contemplating a kitchen remodel. Though, I am guessing that home improvement projects are probably not what Merton had in mind when he wrote about “seeds of freedom” and cherishing “the desire of God.” But it is what is on my mind.
Tension is a bit high these days as my husband and I talk about remodeling. I dream of tearing out walls and expanding the kitchen. My husband is significantly more frugal and analytical in his approach. I find myself longing for the kitchen I had before I met him. In this kitchen of the past, I could slice and dice and sauté and sauce in a space constructed to fit my every move: double ovens, expansive cooktop, sprawling granite counter space. It fit and flowed like a custom-fitted ballgown.
I admit I am enslaved to the kitchen I once had in a life that is no longer mine. I am in love with the idea of that past kitchen. It has become what I cherish and desire. But Merton’s words have made me pause and realize that when I idolize what was, I close the door to the seeds of freedom God offers me.
This Lent, I am going to work on giving up my enslavement to what was so that I can be open to a new experience of what is.
As we enter Lent, what is God asking you to set aside so that you can experience the seeds of freedom?