So you missed Ash Wednesday. Lent’s begun and there is always time to jump into the desert as John and Jesus did.
If Advent is grounded in hope and promise then Lent is a suspension of time. Spending forty days in the desert can erase time quickly. Just like John and Jesus – free of time yet full of its open minutes and hours. (And I don’t mean the desert of Palm Springs.)
During suspended time your routine is broken and the familiar is taken away from you, at least for forty days. Just think of six weeks of rehabilitation after knee surgery and you get what I’m getting at.
Within suspended time you are able to break yourself open, just a little, in order to identify with the brokenness Jesus felt during betrayals, lies, jealousies, humiliation and finally death. Don’t let Easter get in your way. Lent is a time of timelessness. A true faith-filled suspension.
That letter you never wrote to an estranged friend or the arguments with a friend who is now deceased. Even in death, a silent prayer of healing for both of you is time well spent. That book you read years ago next to all the other books may need a once-more read. (If you need a Lenten suggestion, try Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking.” Her husband suddenly dies before supper while her daughter fights for her life in the hospital. It’s a haunting recount of Joan’s past year which may triggered a suspended time for you.) That quiet time you keep promising yourself after the children go to bed has its time during this season. That cluttered basement you haven’t cleaned, as silly as it sounds, even has a Lenten ring to it. No one is always right (or left). If you’re a liberal, tap into a bit of Fox News to hear what they’re saying. It’s the state of our country and we need to somehow understand each other. MSNBC for the rest of you, as well.
My list could go but I’m probably talking more about myself than offering suggestions to you. As a faithful person, you know in your heart what this time provides you. Some tasks may take lessening your pride or bolstering your self-confidence but both are worthy of your Lenten attention.
But remember, there’s no Easter without Lent and there’s no better time than the time the Church provides us.
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