The trunk of the tree by my house matches the pavement, which are both in the same color palette as the sky. Even the greens are gray. I find it fitting that the last “Alleluias” are receding from the airwaves as Jesus’ Transfiguration makes way for Ash Wednesday.
“Remember from dust you came and to dust you will return.” Even the sacramental elements are gray.
I would not say my heart is catching the more subtle nuances of God’s presence these days. Too many days go by with my color-blind eyes and stone-cold heart. I need Lent to cleanse my eyes and soften my heart that I may be freed from my soul’s current crustiness and be made ready to receive anew the “Alleluias” that herald our Lord’s resurrection.
I have been attempting to discern what Lenten fast might best clear the dull palate of my soul; what might be my intentional part in the cleansing, re-awakening work of Christ’s Spirit. For this Lenten season of repentance is intrinsically connected to the times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19, 20).
I can’t sit in my chair and ponder this matter all day. Wyatt and I are in the process of packing up and preparing our home to sell. This activity alone creates full-time stress, and that’s not all the challenges on either one of our plates. But yesterday we came to a major communication melt-down over a toilet. Yes, a toilet. I would love to save our melt-downs for something slightly more elegant. But there you have it: he on one side of the bowl, me on the other, and both fuming while a palpable cone of silence descended between us.
Under the circumstances it hasn’t taken a lighting bolt for me to recognize that my Lenten discipline is to be the discipline of the tongue. (“Please, Lord, couldn’t we make it coffee again?” Oh, yes, I remember, coffee mattered more that year.) I have, in years past, experienced what Father Thomas Hopko so delightfully calls a Lenten Spring.” The Lord has, in other seasons, answered my prayer that my human eyes would be cleansed so that they could see the splendor of hidden color gifted to eyes of faith. He has, in the past, crumbled the cold stone in my comp acted heart that it might again be thirsty ground for the new seed so needed in a new season. And here I am with the same prayer again.
And so I ask again. And hope again. And wait again. For another refreshing Lenten Spring.