I did not know about a “timeout chair” until my grandchildren got in kindergarten. One day after my grandson Nathan started kindergarten, I was with him and did something, though I cannot remember what, that upset him. Nathan said, “Granddad, you have to go to the timeout chair.” The timeout chair is an interesting concept and while it is new to me, I can see the value of moving away from others while we deal with our frustrations, anger, or even perhaps potential bad behavior.
I did know, on the other hand, the experience of standing in a corner with your nose to the wall. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Born, helped me perfect the art of standing still in a corner for hours at a time. As a hyperactive attention- deficit dyslexic first grader, I drove her crazy. Of course I did not mean to, but Mrs. Born had been teaching for forty years and she was tired of children “misbehaving,” and I found it difficult to sit through many of the “R’s”.
As I think about Nathan’s suggestion that I sit in the timeout chair, and those hours I spent standing with my nose to the corner, I think about Lent and our need to draw aside and as Mrs. Born would say, “Think about what you have done.” The problem is, like that first grader of years ago, I sometimes have a very difficult time understanding just what I have done and why it upset others. That is the task of Lent, to come face to face with ourselves, the reality of who we are, and lay that at the foot of the cross where Jesus can forgive and transform us into who we are called to be.
Not sure that I will spend any time in the corner with my nose to the wall, but I hope for myself and for you that this Lenten season will be a time of self-examination as we seek to be Christ’s people in the world.