One mid-afternoon a few weeks ago, the warmer temperature beckoned me outside. Amelia was about due for a nap, so I secured her snug against my chest, walked down our lane and back, and headed toward the wooden swing in our woods that overlooks the ravine.
After rocking for a while, we emerged from the woods into our yard, and it struck me that the grass was green. Not a lush green, but definitely a shade of green.
And then I realized that it had been a shade of green all winter, but from my kitchen window, the half-circle of leafless trees daily stole my gaze.
The grass was green, and I hadn’t even noticed.
This is the season of Lent. The Lazy Genius recently quoted a children’s podcast, We Wonder, that describes the purpose of Lent:
“‘Lent’ is an old English word for ‘springtime.’ This is the season when the earth begins to come back to life after winter. Ice melts, the earth thaws, and things that were dead begin to bloom and grow again. During Lent, we name the things in our hearts and in our world that are dead, and we wait to see how God will raise them to new life with Jesus.”
Perhaps it was my ignorance and privilege that allowed me to considerably dissociate from the coronavirus when I began thinking about Lenten practices. Limiting sugar or screen time? Maybe. Praying fervently for those affected by the virus and asking for the Lord’s mercy and wisdom in preparation? No.
I grieve that, just as I grieve how quickly this escalated in a matter of days. Or maybe it just seems that way from my limited perspective.
How strange it feels––to approach the extended time at home with the hope of potential, while also looking out to the world and so obviously noticing what is, in a variety of meanings, dead.
I remember driving down a quiet, country highway around this time of year in a particularly difficult season. Expectations failed, disappointment pervaded, and I felt about as joyful and satisfied as the bare trees looked. I told God this in a prayer that was little more than a sideways glance.
And that’s when He reminded me that they had roots.
Chris Renzema sings that God’s love is like springtime. That the dark and spiritually dry days won’t make their home here forever. That He is tending the soil and encouraging us in the long-game of faithfulness.
What a grace to be invited to “name the things in our hearts and in our world that are dead” – or even the things that feel dead but are really just dormant or unseen. We acknowledge the longing, wait and wrestle with it a while.
But also, what a grace to know it won’t always be Lent. To “see how God will raise them to new life with Jesus.”
Let it be so.