Thursday, March 23, 2017

An Uncertain Way

Thursday in the Third Week of Lent

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
and why are you so disquieted within me?
Put your trust in God;
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
Psalm 43:5-6

The weather is playing havoc with spring. Or maybe is it the other way around. Warm for one day, unreasonably cold for the next two. A season’s worth of snow arriving in a single spring day after the mildest of winters. Nothing seems certain. Sandals or snow boots. Winter coat or sweater. This seems not the typical ambiguous transitional time of spring, but a wild uncertainty. I wonder if this is now the new reality, rather than an anomaly. It shakes my trust.

I walk simultaneously in another season; the rhythm of the Church Year informs my choices and movement as much as the North American climate. I have grown up attuned to both. Lent too can be a time of wild uncertainty. Traversing the desert is not a steady walk toward redemption, but a gut-wrenching slog across treacherous terrain. Sandy ground shifting beneath my feet, winds erasing the way forward, caverns waiting to swallow my soul.

Even though I think I know what to expect, I am often caught off-guard. By the longing. By an impasse. By a familiar discipline that ties me in knots. Some days I simply trudge along and wonder if the world around me is forever changed.

At such times, I understand that I inhabit a place where thankfulness must be anticipated rather than experienced. But the anticipation is based on memory, on certain knowledge that I belong to One who loves me and will not leave me bereft. I will practice gratitude and the path will clear. Expecting God is the way forward.

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