March -- 2021
THE LENTEN JOURNEY: A Personal Story
Blessed God, Before I was born, you knew my inmost thoughts. And when I came out of the womb, Your arms carried me into the world.
As I cried, as I cooed, as I lay wide-eyed and speechless, You held my hand. When I became so sick, frightening my parents and doctors alike, when I almost left this earth at 4 months old, You held my hand buoyed by the prayers of others. You held my hand until I took it away.
As I grew You fed me with sights and sounds too wonderful for words: innocence, dreams, imagination and exploration. Like a sentinel You remained steadfast even when I found others more important, both people and things. You said, “Yes”, You said, “No”, and you gave me the freedom to choose.
When I left childhood, You walked me into adolescence. When I lost my Dad, I could talk to you when I could no longer talk to him. When I felt uncomfortable in my body, I was comfortable in your presence.
When I felt unacceptable to my peers, I knew I was acceptable to You. When I failed and felt shame, You held me close. You held me close and told me I was worthy. Still in all this goodness, I often ignored You.
Since I have become an adult, I have known new pain and new joy. And You have held my hand through it all: miscarriage and birth, death and new life, darkness and light, despair and hope. When my faith was small, You touched me and made it larger.
It is Lent, Blessed God. May I remember my past as sacred interlace. It is there, in the past, that Your intersecting with me has become transparent. Lead me to softly turn inward, to cradle Your living inside of me, as You have cradled me since the womb.
I have felt Your warmth in the sunlight, Your power in the wind and the waves, Your strength in the compassion of others, Your healing love in moments of deep joy.
I have seen Your work in the canvas of an artist, in the voice of a prophet, in hands wringing for justice, in the gentle actions of a neighbor, in moments of thin air where heaven is so close that the air I breathe is Your breath exhaled.
You know me, Jesus. I do not have to pretend. You take my hand into the wilderness in Lent. Together we walk into unsettled places which have no highways nor signposts. You shepherd me in the desert where days are hot, nights are cold, and big sky reigns. You invite me to share with you the bread of angels, and give me courage to face whatever wild beasts appear.
You hold my hand. My ears strain to hear your voice, “Fear not,” You whisper. “Fear not, my Beloved.”