I had an 8 AM dentist appointment this morning, and I was afraid that was a sign of what Lent was going to be like this year, but now I don't think so.
I'm reading The Desert: An Anthology for Lent. The preface talks about the desert as a way of exchanging everything for nothing, or rather giving up everything for God. So I was trying to see how that could fit into my spiritual life.
Later, at the service of ashes, I was standing and saying the confession when I was suddenly struck by the fact that I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. I know this probably sounds a little odd. This is what I typically wear to work, and, being absent-minded, I didn't think about changing for church today. And then during the confession, the inappropriateness of my clothes just jumped out at me. It was very, very much like the dream where you're in public and suddenly realize you're naked.
So what I've taken out of this surreal experience is this: I don't need to give anything up to go into the desert -- I've already got nothing. That is, I come before God as I am. And I think what I need to work on this Lent is being comfortable with that, with coming to God without spiritual pretensions. I need to discover my real relationship with God, to allow myself, purposely, to be known by God.