Lent is about humility.
We are smaller and dustier than we thought. We are more human, more fallible, and more limited than we’d like to be.
We fall short.
I stopped to chat
with my neighbor as he was hoeing weeds in his beautiful new little patch of grape vines. “We’ve only been here a year, but we’ve got so many systems and projects going I can’t stay on top of it all.”
I told him my 6 years on our farmy little property has felt like one long exercise in compromising my many idealistic values.
We can’t keep up.
It is a disappointing truth isn’t it? We try so hard to avoid it.
But lent is the time to face it.
And to realize that Something Bigger than ourselves and our tight, tired efforts is ready to flow in us and through us if we will allow it.
“No one wants to take the descending path to that naked, unvarnished truth, with all its unacceptable humiliations… The reason lent is so long is that this path to the truth of oneself is long and snagged with thorns, and at the very end one stands alone… All alone—with not one illusion or self-delusion to prop one up. Yet not alone, for the Spirit of Holiness, who is also the Spirit of Helpfulness, is beside you and me. Indeed, this Spirit has helped to maneuver you and me down that dark, steep path to this crucial spot.” ~ Edna Hong
The little guy in the picture above is already there.
Small children don’t have such high expectations and illusions about themselves!
He was in the atrium today, working his way around the liturgical calendar, beginning with Advent where the church year begins. One block for each week of the year. Then he stopped and said he was tired. I told him to go ahead and rest, that it was one of the best ways to pray…
When I looked at his calendar, I realized he stopped and fell asleep in the second week of lent, the very place in time we find ourselves right now! He did his work up through today and that was enough. He rested right where he was. He had no need to think himself faster or farther along.
His humility led to sweet rest. And more than that, a deep calm descended on the whole roomful of children. For over an hour while he slept, they were all silently, deeply engaged in their work. The love of God was thick in the room. Indeed,
Seth’s rest opened the way for Something Bigger.
“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother. My soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord.” ~Psalm 131
OGod, help us follow the children!
© 2012 Standing on Peace