Today the sky was decidedly blue, and when The Man came home from work the sun had just dipped below the horizon... which meant it was still light out and we were all out there enjoying the lengthening hours before darkness, which seemed fitting in an ironic way-- because tomorrow Lent begins.
Lent. That season celebrated by the Church since its earliest days, and one I am growing to understand and appreciate, though the trajectory of my own history and faith heritage has for centuries and a variety of reasons not recognized these weeks as legitimate practices. I understand why, and I think it helps to see some of the flow of thought that brought it about... so that instead of criticizing I can merely see things anew from the lens of time and place that I inhabit, with the work of the centuries resting underneath me.
The centuries are there though, and they seem to point to the goodness of a time set apart, even if it is to sit in darkness. So tomorrow it begins... as the days grow increasingly longer and the rest of the world begins to awaken, we grow dark. The Light is going out of the world, shrouded by the cross-beams of a tree. It is not the end of the Story, but in order to know the good ending, you have to start with the very bad beginning.
"And that is what Lent is, a time to reckon with the reality of darkness and death. We do so with hope, beacuse this season of darkness ends in Easter, in resurrection, in new life. But we can be raised to new life only if we have first died to the old one. That is the challenge-- and the gift-- of Lent."
-Kimberlee Conway Ireton,
I don't think it will be all gloom and doom. In fact, I get strangely excited about this time of year. I think it is because, in a very practical way, giving up simple things and thinking intentionally about other areas creates space for God to work. It doesn't have to be fantastical work either, sometimes it just allows you to see things clearer, the way they really are, and to draw closer to him.
And just in case you were thinking I am Ultra-Spiritual-Woman by being so into Lent, I want you to know I think Lent is for the exact opposite... the Un-Spiritual, the ones who are needy and unable to do anything (like fast) with success. Lent is for you, for me, for the stragglers and the proud... all of us in need of some soul searching and the Light at the end of the tunnel.