The season of Lent is upon us. I gather snippets here and there. I hunger for them like crumbs sprinkled on an orphanage floor. I read words written by others. I pause and listen to the birds calling as they scratch for food and seek their own crumbs beneath the surprising snow that covers the morning ground. I am in awe of all the beauty that surrounds me. Jan Richardson says, "Ash Wednesday beckons us to cross over the threshold into a season that's all about working through the chaos to discover what is essential." I feel caught in the midst of a glorious chaos - standing at a crossroads of what to allow into my life and what to sift out.
I was touched by Sunrise Sister's poem about Ash Wednesday and also her post regarding her personal experience of the day. Here is the response I wrote to her: "i experienced my first marking with ashes last night. it was a ceremony of mixed emotions. i did not hear the words "from dust you were born, to dust you will return," but more words of repentance...i wrestle with what repentance means to me and what the old voices tell me it "should" mean. it would have been easier to hear "from dust to dust." ah, but this journey is not about the easy way is it?"
This morning continued my beautiful wrestling to find meaning in the chaos. Learning how to marry my old traditional ways (that have felt narrow in recent years) with the broader and bigger God that I am discovering. Abbey of the Arts shares her poetic and thoughtful vision of what her Lenten practice will and will not include. I have yet to name for myself what it means, but the words God is getting bigger keep weaving their way through my musings. I guess that is a start. It feels like this season is one of making space for a God who wants more presence in my life and more distinction. Distinction is an interesting word to me, because on the one hand it can feel limiting, but in this case it feels expansive and lovely.
Traditionally Lent is considered a time of fasting and repentance. Maybe I shall fast from the old ways of doing things. Perhaps I will repent of not being true to myself and how I desire my relationship with God to be. Hmmm...I think I'll ponder this a little more.
And you? Have you made plans for Lent? Will you experience it as a time of turning inward or one of expansion? Maybe the two are not so very different...
photos taken this morning on my walk