Today is one of my most favorite days in the church year: Ash Wednesday. When I tell people this, they usually look at me with a bit of horror. Who enjoys the day when we wallow and get some greasy ash put on our forehead? This girl.
It is so much more than wallowing. To me, it is permission giving. We spend so much time trying to be “happy” and trying to put on a good face. But that is not real life. Real life means wrestling with lost hopes, dashed dreams and grief that lingers.
Lent is an opportunity to strain toward introspection and lean into the lengthening of days. Introspection occurs day by day as we examine our lives, our relationships and our prayers. As we inch closer to Easter, we lean into the longer days, a bit more daylight streaming into our darkened lives.
I posted this article yesterday from David Lose on Huffington Post about this very subject. Perhaps Lent is not ours, he suggests, but perhaps Lent belongs to God. And here are a few more reflections on Lent by Sister Joan Chittister. While I’m at it, this one too.