How To Live In Joy During Lent
The reason Lent is so long is that this path to the truth of oneself is long and snagged with thorns, and at the very end one stands alone before the broken body crowned with thorns upon the cross.
- Edna Hong
As I was walking our dog the other morning, I caught what I imagined was the smell of flowers on the warm wind that was blowing. In that moment, I had an intense longing for a change in seasons and the arrival of Spring.
The intensity of that longing surprised me, and I began to wonder if there was something underneath it, something deeper that I wasn't fully acknowledging.
A lot has changed in the past year.
When I last entered into Lent, we hadn't yet had a full year of political and social strife--the kind of strife that divides and wounds us as a society. There hadn't been devastating hurricanes, three horrific mass shootings and a host of other tragedies.
My mom was still alive, and happy to be living with me and my family--all of us under one roof.
And now as I walk once again on the Lenten path, I am fully aware of the pain, grief, and sorrow all of those losses and tragedies have brought me. I am also aware that my longing for Spring is hopelessly intertwined with those feelings.
Lent is long. And the path to the truth about ourselves does lead to a difficult place where we're forced to confront our frailty, brokenness, and lostness.
But we don't have to stay in that sad, and sorrowful place. Spring is coming, Beloved, and with it comes new hope, new life, and new joy.
I read a beautiful poem the other day by the poet Li-Young Lee, who captured the beauty of that Resurrection moment beyond the end of our Lenten path. She writes,
"There are days we liveMay you find peace in the hope of living without the shadow of death in the background. May you know beyond all doubt that because of the Resurrection, you no longer have to live in dread and fear. May move from joy to joy, to joy.
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy, to joy, from wing to wing..."
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.