Article Comment 

Shannon Bardwell: The way of suffering


Shannon Bardwell



By the sixth week of Lent I was totally torqued and twisted into a most uncomfortable frame of mind and body. But by the seventh week, everything became crystal clear. I was meant to be uncomfortable, for discomfort showed who I really was. Ah ... there was the rub. 


Shaeffer's Chapel, located in the Prairie and claiming to be the county's oldest continually-meeting congregation, celebrates the full complement of Holy Week. When I started attending Shaeffer's I took up the habit of Lent. Each year I either forgo something or take something on. This year it was a bit of both. 


Using Mississippi University for Womens' Life Enrichment program, I signed up for two classes, yoga and Pilates; I had one additional yoga class already. Each class met at different hours on different days, but all were smack dab in the middle of the day. This cut three days each work week in half, so that meant a constant juggling of schedules and wearing yoga clothes to work accessorized with earrings and sandals. It meant I was in a constant rush, and rushing does not suit me. And when I am not suited then other folks are not suited. 


Besides the classes came a barrage of other commitments, all time sensitive -- preparing the taxes, the Columbus-Lowndes Library book sale, to which I had promised time, friend birthdays and family birthdays. A few friends entered the hospital, and then spring exploded, increasing pastoral care -- tilling, planting, clipping, watering, moving, dividing and cleaning pollen off anything and everything. 


Then there's the normal duties of home care. Sam's shirts are clean but have yet to be ironed. Fortunately, he has a lot -- but if he shows up at work wearing a muscle shirt, don't be surprised. He would iron, but he doesn't have time either; he has work, yard chores and, of course, it's the crappie spawn.  


Then my Lent had ended, and I enjoyed Holy Week. I had time for reflection and I realized what pressure, sacrifice and not having my own way and schedule can quickly turn me into. I learned some things might not get done and everything doesn't have to be done the "right way," which, of course, is my way. 


It made me realize that people are primary, and time to converse and listen is crucial -- and maybe someone else's schedule and needs are more important than mine.  


Throughout the six weeks I kept considering the "via Delarosa," the way of suffering, the final path of the Christ to the crucifixion. I thought of him saying, "I'm really tired of all this and besides, it hurts and these people don't give a rip anyway."  


When I thought of him, I sat on my yoga mat. I bowed my head and twisted myself into a pretzel shape, and I kept my thoughts quiet and thankful; and now, "Tetestai" meaning "It is finished." 


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie. Her email is [email protected]


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


printer friendly version | back to top






Follow Us:

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us via Email