“This has been a particularly lenty Lent,” I read in a blog I frequent.
Yes, that’s exactly it.
I haven’t paid as close attention to the church calendar as I normally do. Christmas ended, Epiphany strolled by, I blinked, Ash Wednesday blipped and I vaguely registered that we were in the season of Lent.
I didn't mark Lent with sacrifices of candy or caffeine. I didn't come up with crafts, snacks, or thought provoking lessons for my children to deepen their faith as we waited for the Resurrection and the Bunny. There was no formal Lent for us this year because my own season of waiting has coincided with the calendar and, rather than an exercise of intellectual learning and insight, it’s been a day by day struggle, an unwanted lesson in waiting for an answer to come – maybe soon, maybe never, maybe clearly, maybe opaque and clouded and as agonizing as the wait itself.
Burdens, they are multiplying around me in staggering numbers that settle, not on my shoulders but deep down, burrowing to my bones so that I wonder if this time the phrase is wrong. I won’t be stronger; the weight is so much that I might break instead.
They are my own and those that I care about. Relationships; thin, stretched, and hanging by gossamer threads. Illness, the kind that makes you halt, the anxiety of now battling with fear of the many possible futures for a parent, spouse, child or sibling. Lost finances, lost dreams of every variety, lost innocence and belief.
But, now it’s Monday morning, the day after Easter, the day after Resurrection. This is my comfort.
My Lenten season hasn’t magically ended, we’ve passed the 40 day mark and I don’t know how long it will last; neither did everyone waiting in a little room. But hope is alive. The waiting, questioning, crying, screaming and sitting in quiet agony because anything else would just be too much, that season is defeated. Though the world we emerge into is utterly changed from what we knew, it is richer because of the victory over every kind of death.
I’m holding those burdens – my own and all of those entrusted to me. I’m cradling them as my sacrifice and my offering as I wait.
Even as I chafe at the waiting.
And while I wait, trying not to rush, I will listen in the quiet and the roar for the Still Small Voice that never steers me wrong, that has traveled through the muck already and knows that the way out is through. The Voice promises to hold my hand with each small move - breathing, small shuffling steps, giant leaps, bone-crushing goodbyes or eye-opening, unexpected hellos.
The wait is part of life but so is the Resurrection and I hold onto that Truth with white knuckles and a faith built of stubbornness and experience.