Just Saying No | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

03.8.24 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

We are deep in the heart of Lent, and while this Sunday is often referred to as “refreshment Sunday,” there is still a way to go before Easter arrives. Even with the Sunday “Little Easter” reprieves from Lent, and even with the hopeful signs of longer days and warmer temperatures, the time between Ash Wednesday and our celebration of the Resurrection is long, long, long.

Your mileage may vary, but this is exactly the time in Lent when I want to shelve whatever I’ve decided will be my 40-day-and-night spiritual commitment. This year, in the midst of trying not to veer off the penitential path, I was interested to stumble across an article by Leslie Jamison titled The Mind-Boggling Simplicity of Learning to Say ‘No.” The author talks about her difficulty with declining offers and requests—both because of the fear of hurting someone’s feelings or appearing ungrateful, and also because she admits to enjoying a certain level of virtue signaling that comes along with busyness.

What struck me in the article was not her journey toward learning to say no (although she is concise in her description of the process!), but rather her revelation that saying no to that which was not really important to her meant that she was saying yes to creating space in her life for the things that were: her writing, a healthier communication dynamic, dates with people she was truly interested in getting to know, time with her child.

The writer of this essay did not frame her insights around faith, but these same insights can be applied to our efforts to navigate Lent. By saying “no” to something (anything!) that pulls us away from God and creation, we are creating space for the “yes” of Easter to be born in our hearts once more.

Blessings at the Lenten-halfway-point,

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson


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