I’ve been praying the Liturgy of the Hours on a daily basis for about two years now. Well, I’ve been praying Lauds (morning prayers) daily for about two years.

During Advent, I prayed both Lauds and Vespers (evening prayers) so that I could pray with Amanda each evening as we lit the Advent candle.

During Lent, I’ve been praying Lauds and Compline (night prayers) everyday.

I think I like Compline the best. It’s darker than Lauds. It recognizes our brokenness and futility—our irrational fear of the dark.

The antiphon my body shall rest in safety surrounds Psalm 16.

But my favorite part is the Nunc Dimittis, a canticle taken from the second chapter for St. Luke’s Gospel.

* * *

Save us, Lord, while we are awake; protect us while we sleep; that we may keep watch with Christ and rest with him in peace.

At last, all-powerful Master,
you give leave to your servant
to go in peace, according to your promise.

For my eyes have seen your salvation
which you have prepared for all nations,
the light to enlighten the Gentiles
and give glory to Israel, your people.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Amen.

Save us, Lord, while we are awake; protect us while we sleep; that we may keep watch with Christ and rest with him in peace.

* * *

Each sleep is a little death. Each wake is a little resurrection.

The rhythm of God’s heartbeat pulsing with regularity—and the Hours help me fall into rhythm.

* * *

As I said at the beginning of the Lent, I have cut out watching shows on Netflix entirely as part of my fast. This would, I said, help give me the space to pursue a new creative project. Actually, it has helped me stay on top of my school work during this very busy season!

Something else that fasting from both meat and TV shows, and reading in depth and sustained works of art by fascinating authors, has shown me is the shallowness of my mind. Jonathan Coppage has a piece up about how social media is eating away at our brains. And while I have given voice to this scare before, and later changed my tune, I think there is some merit to it.

That is, to be constantly inundated with information may train our brains to forget how to make sustained arguments, to give sustained attention to something, or to do any sort of sustained introspection.

Moreover, most of my attention gobbled up by social media is gobbled up by faith blogs—blogs that are extremely thoughtful, well-written, and beautiful. But faith blogs inundate me the latest buzz about the latest thing in the Evangelical or Christian worlds. I find myself compulsively adding new bloggers to my Google Reader so that I don’t miss anything. I get my temperature raised at the latest thing John Piper said or laugh at the latest response Rachel Held Evans has made. I have become what I read—what I fill myself with.

Which is not how I want to live. I want to slow down. I have tried to force too much stuff into too little a space—that no matter how good I am at time-management, I am always rushing through something.

So, for this season, I am going to slow down. I want my mornings (I typically get up at five, work-out, pray, read the news and blogs, and then start work around 8) to be slow, methodical, and steady—not a rush to get through my Google Reader. I don’t want to be worried about the latest thing happening in Evangelical Land.

(I have finally recognized that I am not an Evangelical, I don’t care what the Evangelicals are up to, and I don’t find it necessary to respond to them, read them, or get worked up about them. I don’t share Scot McKnight or Rachel Held Evans‘ need to keep the name Evangelical. I grew up in a church—the Churches of Christ—that didn’t know what that word meant. I never heard it until college. I am totally with Richard Beck on this.)

I want to be, simply, in a rhythm of exercise, prayer, meditation, work, community, and creation. Thus, I will shortly take a verly close look at my Reader and start to unsubscribe to some blogs.

And, starting this coming week, space has opened up for me to begin pursuing my new project.

* * *

For my American Literature class, I’ve been reading a biography of Truman Capote. Capote produced some of the best works of literature this side of WWII, but he was also a deeply troubled, tortured soul who longed for love and affection. He ended up overdosing on pills and dying in his late fifties in 1984.

But Capote’s art is unquestioned. His genius is categorically affirmed. I can’t help but wonder if his art needed his tortured soul or if he could have produced even greater art if he had found peace.

I think it’s probably both. As I’ve said before, art is produced at the disjunct between what is and what should be. It is addressed to those questions that threaten to engulf us. Art keeps the vastness at bay.

My new project will be a writing project. I am going to start writing short fiction. I have a concept in mind and just need the time to write in order to flesh it out. I am so excited, but also pretty nervous since this will be a totally new writing form for me.

That’s all for now.

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