Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Traditionally, I understand these 40 days before Easter as a time of self-examination, letting go of the old, readying for something new. And to be honest, we seem to have done a lot of that during the pandemic and I am not exactly sure what to do with some of my discoveries.
So, I was struck with something Marilyn McEntyre wrote in Adverbs for Advent another reflective time in the Christian calendar.
Simply… expect that we will be given what we need for our own
growth—that we will be invited again and again to awaken, pay
attention, learn, stretch into love in new ways, practice discernment,
exercise generosity or rest, and be held in a rich and joyous way of life
The sun peeked through the clouds; so, I decided to ride my bike to get an onion and a cucumber that I needed for supper. I started out a different way than I usually go and realized the road was a little more “uphill” than I wanted to climb. I abruptly took the next turn. I happened to be a few blocks from Willow Beach.
I decided to stop. I parked my bike in the rack on the least traveled end of the beach. There weren’t many beach walkers. A few dogs fetched driftwood and a lone young man braved entering the chilly water. I walked close to the ripple of approaching water. I am ever in awe of the changing tide and the spaciousness of the sea and sky.
When I turned from the water toward my bike, I noticed a lady who appeared to be putting something into my helmet that was tied to the handlebars. She turned and walked on with her friend.
As I approached, I could see the thick green leaves of the surprise she left—a branch of bay leaves. On a paper heart, the lady had spelled out the benefits of adding the bay leaf’s freshness to the lentils and rice I’d planned for dinner. I stuffed the bouquet in my backpack, smiling now as I started out for the market. Everyone seemed friendlier as I made my way into the store. The ride home seemed easier too.
Maybe, Lent 2022 is a journey from old visions of our lives that have been upended, and instead of figuring out whatever “it” is for us; we will risk being surprised by new im-possibilities. I can trust that each day will offer its own invitation and when my mind is quiet, I will hear the Voice I most need to hear.