Lent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. Today, a friend wished me a Happy Lent! I chuckled at the oxymoron. Isn’t Lent all about sack-cloth and ashes, fasting, giving up pleasurable tastes and treats, and focusing on the poor and needy in our world? Hardly stuff to be happy about.
But, I really do need a happy Lent. I need to focus on the proverbial half full glass instead of wallowing in the half-empty shallowness. I’m tired of reading about the unbelievable stupidity coming from some of our political and church leaders. I’m even more tired of the same ranting voices on discussion boards; voices that loudly promote their own narrow views, refusing to listen to the other. The focuses on issues that have little connection with real life, but much to say about power struggles are dragging me down. The loud railing against the so-called ‘culture wars’ and anti-Catholic persecutions in North America are not firing up my Catholic soul and readying me for a righteous battle. They are making me want to hide in a quiet corner until the kaka clears.
The following words are in today’s Psalm reading, (Psalm 55),
If only I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest. Far away I would flee; I would stay in the desert.
Ah, the classic Lenten image of a desert. A harsh place, yes. But also a place of solitude and deep silence. A place of vast horizons of sameness, forcing you to spend time in what can be the harshest and most challenging of places – your own interior life. Forcing you to be still. To listen. To seek the wisdom within.
Of course, I can’t escape the late winter prairies to go tenting in the desert for forty days. But, I know that I can be more intentional in seeking the silence. I know what I need to turn off and when. I know how I can carve out time in my day to be still, and know better our God.
This is my Lenten resolution. This, and a commitment to put rants aside for a while. This doesn’t mean embracing a Pollyanna existence, closing my eyes to hide the darkness. I don’t trust the perpetually optimistic if the optimism comes from a place of denial or refusal to face reality. But, I do find energy in those who, in the midst of struggles and despair, can see the face of hope. Can be the face of hope to those around them.
I’m still not sure what a happy Lent will look like. But, I’m willing to give it a try. And, of course, I’ll use this blog to help map out the journey; hoping that others will add their wisdom along the way!