Lent is…

It is the season of Lent and we know the score.

In Lent we take down the colourful hangings and expose the old wall beneath.

We peel away our show selves – for public consumption; we don’t believe it ourselves – and slowly there appears an inscape more true, a lodging humble and sparse.

This peasant hut is my house; this peasant hut is me. Simple and honest is good.

So the maths of Lent is always subtraction: neither addition nor multiplication… but always subtraction. It is a letting go of our distractions of choice, to arrive instead at ourselves.

I subtract the mad scrolling and clicking on everything – and the remainder is focus on one thing.

I subtract the rush – and find it adds up to order.

I subtract my plans – and arrive at my undivided self.

I have not long on this earth and while some days are slow, the years are fast, and I find more of me in subtraction than addition.  

During Lent we walk more, complain less, pause often, judge rarely, hug decay and welcome feeling. If strong feelings arise, we pause but don’t panic. We listen for the message on the wind.

Yes, we listen well in Lent…two ears, one mouth and all that. The wind song will tell us everything we need to know. But we will need to listen.

And in Lent, every year, I burn my mental map, because it fails to describe reality. (No wonder I get lost.) I toss it on my bright and brilliant bonfire of ignorance and watch as my dry conclusions burn, the flames wild and dancing.

Without my map, I am like a creature in the dark; I know nothing but what I sense; but sense is enough. Sense will lead me home.

Lent is the narrow path, which restricts and confines, yet carries us swift and true to our ‘one precious life’.

Now and again, it’s good to be reacquainted.