Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Days of Gray 2012

The holidays of both east and west are over and all the festivity has been packed, or swept away. The darkness of early morning no longer holds its promises of the coming light of Advent. Routines are back in place, but the sun still hides from us. These are the long winter days in our corner of the world—the Days of Gray.
Into the cold and colorless sky walks Ash Wednesday, on February 22nd this year. It is an appropriate name for the opening day of an appropriate season because it begins us on the long march of death. Not just an aimless, depressing march, it is the Lenten walk through death and into Life-- the resurrection of the earth that has been submerged and shut up for so many months, which echoes the celebration of the Resurrected God-man, the Savior of the dying world.
It has been said somewhere by someone that we can endure anything, so long as whatever we endure has meaning. Every year, I enter these months and the challenges I face are different and the same. But if I choose to sit awhile, and let the season have its course, if I enter into the meditations and remembrances of centuries that have passed before me- step by little step the Gray Days can become infused with prismatic depth. So, increasingly the practice of Lent has become vitally important to the yearly rhythm of my mind and soul, and beyond that the practice of seeing through the Gray has become a living necessity.
The seeing for me cannot be merely about finding a photo each day that expresses some hint of color magically found in the bleakness of midwinter weather, or about naming three things I found to enjoy and offer thanks for. But neither can it be a singular Scripture or quote floating rapturously through my mind but untethered to the muddy footprints of my day, the ones I am pounding out in the flesh and bone of hours and minutes. *
Somehow, the two practices of seeing with the eyes and seeing with the soul must connect, weave, wrap their existential and physical arms around each other and whether in harmony or discord- they must meet. They must feed off of and into one another so that they can do what they were always meant to do—keep us whole, keep us healthy with Image-bearing humanity.
This is the daily challenge for me as a person- at once both an earth dweller and heaven-seeker as a floundering Jesus-follower. This is my meager explanation for an artistic little exercise called, Days of Gray. Words and thought and image—it is all combined—and if you like you can try to follow (or join) along as I post bits and pieces here.

*I don't mean to sound pretentious, or high and mighty in some sort of way that says I am a deeper thinker than mere thank-you lists, or posting a photo a day... but more am trying to express that any one of these things alone has not helped me much in the recent year, and I want to leave the boundaries open to include a variety of all of them- which is more the way my mind, and I think most people's minds, works anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Been thinking of you and your family lately. Happy to see Days of Gray returning...I came across your blog around this time last year. Observing the Church calendar (especially Lent) is very new for me and your words that you share have helped me along in that journey. Thank you :-)