Its Time To Go Back to the Desert – A Reflection by Martha Hopler

Today’s post in the Lenten series Easter is Coming: What Do We Hunger and Thirst For? comes from Martha Hopler. Martha Hopler a social worker for 15 years in Philadelphia PA before moving to Seattle where she attended The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.  She is now a social worker  medical case manager at Project access Northwest.  She attends Seattle First Seattle baptist church.  

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It’s time to go back to the desert.  It’s time sit with the God above and realize it’s not 40 years… it’s forty days.  I will go as Jesus did after he was reminded  of his call to ministry.  I will enter Lent with silence and seriously give up something I have found so helpful in my journey.  Not just half way but all the way.  This part of the journey is mine.  It is not about what everyone else should do it’s about me and God – and I am not alone.   This will be the Lent of all Lents for it will lead to new.  It will lead to living into who I was created to be:

I am a warrior princess

I am a child of God

I am a woman who loves with all she has and then gives a bit more

And I am ready for the new race… The race of love and truth together.

The ‘giving up’ is not to say what I had was a bad thing, it is so I can “trade one addiction for another” (Tim Phillips).  And ‘tis not forever!  It’s for forty days because I serve a God of mercy and Grace.  I choose this day to give up TV for Forty Days because it will create space for a new day.

I have learned over the last years as I was introduced to Lent that for me this is what it is about.  It is about giving up something so I can be in a space that is different.  It creates discipline and anyone who knows me knows I hate discipline.  I hate the square I have been boxed into… meaning those times that it has been demanded of me to be what works for the group.  I have been boxed in a corner where all I have known is anger and screaming at time.

Even as I write these words I hear those who want to take my journey and make it theirs and then they will argue with me about why it will not work.  Trust me; I have had all the difficulty in relationship.  I love my favorite shows.  I love connecting with people.   TV it has worked in places where I had nothing in common with another and yet our personalities find common ground and connection through story.  I hate it when people make broad sweeping statements about TV as if God is never there… For I have watched amazing shows where whole discussions regarding God are more of a church experience than church itself.

This forty days, for me, is acknowledging just how much I would rather live in the pretend – in the place where God has made all things right.  I have been on a journey toward choosing life and the purpose of God for ten years.  Not that I have not lived for God for all of my adult life and not to say that after this forty days I will have arrived, but to say that I will be more focused in moving toward what I have believe to be a call.  However I must warn you that those who want to believe that know that I am subject to forgetting that this journey continues beyond these 40 days… It really is 40 years and I am still in the middle but closer to end.  That is a story for another day.  But for now I will choose forty days of no TV and journal about it every day… Forty entries and moving into the New.

Easter is coming.