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As many of you know until about a year ago we lived in Florida, fairly close to the beach. Every so often there would be a spectacular new moon and the beach would fill up with locals as dusk fell and the moon rose.

I like to take pictures but the moon is really hard for me - I did not quite get it right - everything seems a bit backwards to my poor brain, compared to taking pictures of the sunrise. I had some learning to do about moon pictures after this.

It seems obvious to say that we need to learn, but it can be difficult to actually do that when we are in a situation which is less familiar. We tend to be self-critical - I was with my blurry moon pictures - but then I realized I could learn, could understand better. This willingness to let go of our over-developed adult certainty and ability to view our faith as a place of learning is something which we can embrace. It is easy to think we are doing that but if we are thinking we are not good enough, smart enough or skilled enough it might be time to consider learning that the aperture and shutter speed which we are setting, might need a little work.

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A few years ago I was on retreat with the Society of St John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Mass. It was a led retreat for clergy and near the beginning the facilitator went through the schedule and the things we might want to think about. He also told us to sleep, that sleeping was not a guilty pleasure, that it was a gift from God. Clergy have to be reminded about self-care and being told to sleep was a gift.

Yet, we battle sleep. We see it as the enemy, as a point of resignation. I admit that this blog is a little later today because I fell asleep yesterday evening - there was a good reason why I was so tired. I was irritated with myself when I realized this morning but I also thanked God for the sleep. I remembered the sacredness of sleep and thanked God that I usually sleep well, and prayed for those who do not. Lent is a time of rediscovery and return, that can mean returning to our basic needs, sleep, however we find it, is a gift and we should treat it as such.

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This was taken at Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon in England. It is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK and, even thought I don't really get into the whole ghost thing, it is easy to get spooked. I think that these steps lead up from the dungeon where Lady Margaret was imprisoned by her sister and now walks the grounds, a vengeful ghost. I like steps in castles, especially when you cannot quite see where they are going to come out. Sometimes they lead to small, pokey, rooms in towers - damp and dank. But then there are those times where there is a surprise and you end up in a grander room or even on a roof with a view you would never otherwise see. Lent gives us the chance to undertake a journey but we do not know exactly where the steps up our curving staircase of fast and discipline will take us. I will venture, a well kept Lent will lead to a joyful Easter, a new view in a familiar place, more wonderful that we can imagine for ourselves.

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