Monday, February 11, 2013

The Bridge To A Different World

Lent begins on Wednesday. I don't think I've ever felt so thankful for this season's arrival. I feel like I need a detox from the ways life has gotten away from me, to pause and have a chance to regroup.  (I'm acknowledging as a cautionary sign how each day I understand a little better why my Mom used to exclaim, "Stop the world! I want to get off!")

Since I first observed Lent ten years ago, it has been a way of stopping the world (or at least slowing it down) so I can focus on the place where God and my life come together.  It's like pausing at an intersection before deciding which way to go.  (I'm tempted to throw in an awkward metaphor here about how God is like my GPS, but I'll spare you!)  If there's anything I need right now, it's a moment to pause and get my bearings.

I usually fast for Lent. It's a way to organize my priorities, a reminder that I want God's best more than I want coffee, sweets, a book to read, potato chips, television, etc. I try to make it something I'll really miss so that it will prompt me to pray more, but not something I feel like I "should" give up, like pasta if I'm chubby from too many carbs. (It's spiritually tacky to multi-task Lent into an opportunity to lose ten pounds.)

I'm not sure what I'll give up this year. Hopefully I'll remember later today to take a few minutes to ask God if He has suggestions.  I'm always surprised by what He asks for, and also by the subtle transformations that happen during these long days.

Lent ends at Easter, my favorite of all the Christian holidays. What could be better than our hero coming back from the dead? Spring will be at hand (even though here in Boston it's often snowing that day) along with the tangible sense that the seeds God has planted are stirring and soon everything will be very, very different.

For me, Lent is a bridge from where I am to that land of very, very different.  I'm excited for Wednesday to begin the journey.


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