I experienced the power of Lenten renunciation this week in an interesting way. My computer hard-drive crashed, suddenly, on Tuesday morning. For several hours afterwards, I tried to get the information restored, and was dismayed to learn that there was no way to do it. I’ve backed up most of what was on there, so the damage isn’t too far-reaching. And in the end, I felt a strange sense of release, having let go of those thousands of words, hundreds of documents, gone. It’s a small loss in the great scheme of things, one small laptop in the great masses of laptops, a speck, really, not even a speck, an infinitesmal speck of a speck of a speck.
But there was a spaciousness in the absence of this strange machine that has so much of my thinking stored on it. And I thought, this is why we let go, surrender, renounce, give up, turn away from, all those distractions we don’t need in Lent. The event was helpful. And I was, in turn, grateful, that life is more food, and the body more than clothing, and the mind more than the machine with which I write.