I couldn’t tell you what it is about the way my world tends to turn at this time of year – but Lenten Season has an ironic pattern of being a challenging one for me. This isn’t the first time the long winter nears a close, and my heart is heavy with grief or unexpected change. I’ve ended February throwing my hands up in surrender to control before, and this year was surely no exception.
Revisiting this pattern is both haunting and comforting at the same time. I find myself holding my breath, because I know this pain all too well. It’s an unwanted reminder that the most disorienting type of pain is when you’re up against your own mind. When you feel like you’re not even on your own team – the way out is is a hell of a lot harder to find.
However, I know this place, and I know there is hope here, too. I’ve slowly started to welcome in the beauty that sits under the surface of pain. I’ve made it to the other side of this before – and I know when I give pain the space to shape me, my heart is refined – softened but stronger. Hiding from pain simply makes my heart harder. I know God will never put pain to waste – He always trades beauty for ashes.
When I lean in, I arrive on the other side of pain in this precious place of becoming more humbled and more confident at the same time.
And what a more sacred season to experience this paradox than that of Lent. Anticipating resurrection both within and in Christ.
I’ve spent March leaning into “the space between” – this uncomfortable place between old things passing away, but needing the space to let the dust settle before I rush to find my next big chapter. What I’ve learned, though, is that perhaps this seemingly transitional “space between” is meant to be its own chapter – too. Perhaps this uncomfortable space isn’t meant to be rushed through or regarded as insignificant. I’ve made that mistake before. I’ve tried to skim through the parts that don’t feel perfect but sacrifice a lot of growth when I just keep running.
Instead, I’ve slowed down and embraced nights alone and time at home and new friendships growing. I’ve spent more time cooking and sleeping and calling family and less time rushing and moving and fixing.
This slowing down feels timely in the final pauses the earth takes between Winter and Spring, this peaceful time when life starts to bloom again slowly – but also allows the ground the rest and the storm soak in and nurture the earth deeply. It’s muddy and messy and a little gray, but the earth is still – and preparing for new growth.
In yoga, my instructor often says. “first breath, then balance, then explore.” This month I’ve taken this to mean feeling grounded in my core first, then learning from discomfort, then transforming discomfort into new growth.
I’m not in an urgent hurry to exit this “pause” – but perhaps that means the pause has done its job. Here I’ve found more gratitude in my job – more strength in my roots, more joy in simple pleasures of life. In this rhythm of living day by day and taking it all in- I’ve found I can try again and again to explain what’s in the past, or I can trust that maybe I won’t understand the past by looking back, but maybe I’ll begin to understand the past when I start looking forward.
Alright, we’re approaching April with a “chin up buttercup” attitude & much, much more hope than we started March with. Whatever comes, my hope is to welcome it with an open heart. Hereeeeee we go…