This winter – across the nation – surely has been the winter of our discontent. Days have been dark with clouds and we have been isolated by snow and freezing (or sub-freezing) temperatures. Setting forth outside to do routine chores and errands has called forth unimaginable effort…and courage. And now, we are deep into February, and for those among us who are Christians, it is Lent. If you don’t know, Lent is not one of the more celebratory seasons of our faith… It is a time for wandering, reflecting, confessing our short-comings, and self-denial.
Earlier today I confessed to a friend in an email that I was not in a good place today. I said that I needed to go grocery shopping but was having trouble rousing myself to do even that. Note that at the time I did not think of this confession as a Lenten action – but maybe… In return she shared something a friend had sent her. See the ripple effect of friendship taking place?
Beautiful Broken Things
There is a rest in brokenness. You lie on that hard ground, unable to function as you did before. So you lie there. There are no more "shoulds' because the luxury of self-recrimination was taken from you when you fell and broke to pieces on the earth below. "Cannot" doesn't matter now, either. All that exists in this moment is "What is Now". This. And there is beauty in the brokenness. It is a beauty of constellations in the scars, of tides in the tears, the heat of fire in the bleeding of you. In the abrupt quiet that follows an unexpected injury, a sacred silence fills you. And because there is nothing left in you that can create, push, force, be, or drive into, there is a blessed empty space, to be filled by something other than all the crazed and busy thinking, the manic achieving, and the over-scheduled hours. This blessed, beautiful brokenness is the prayer that summons the spirit, calls forth the angels, lays us down gently. In these seasons of humble brokenness, we are opened, utterly. There is no protecting yourself here. This is the stripping way of ego-driven, striving conception. Let there be grace. Let there be mercy. Allow the broken places to show you their beautiful rest.
The broken stick on the forest floor is the branch who earned her rest. I bless the stick. I bless the branch. I bless the rest. ~~ Sarah LaRosa 2013
The author, Sarah LaRosa may not have intended this as a Lenten reflection, but for me it is. Lent is a time when we are invited to empty ourselves – to strip away the negative spirits that have inhabited our being (or brought us down) to make room for quiet. In the empty space we take our rest, we are blessed; and then in time we are refilled with the promise of new life.
Today I am blessing the branch on the forest floor which has earned its rest. Recently I have felt a lot like that branch and so I too, am blessing the rest.
And I am very much aware that it is good to have friends who share just the right words at just the right time.