As we step into Lent, it is good to reflect on the wilderness experiences we have had or are currently experiencing, this past year.
Conflicting advice, busy schedules, anxieties over life matters of which we have no control; injustices that we see but to which we feel helpless in our limited ability to respond; other people’s ‘urgency’ and demands; a decision to walk away from a commitment though it is the healthy thing to do; temptations to take the ‘simple’ path or to ‘feast’ on the delectable now, while leaving the longer term essentials aside. All these overload our mental, emotional, and mostly, our spiritual life, and draw us to the edge of ‘wilderness,’ where our physical wellbeing suffers.
Lent offers an opportunity to look at our personal life – heart and soul, mind and body - to honestly review how we are living, why we are doing what we are doing, how we are managing, or honestly, how we are not managing. What are our pathways for spiritual richness, wellbeing, emotional, spiritual and physical healing; our choice of when we are going to step into the ‘green pastures’ and sit beside ‘still waters’ with God.
No one can do this, but you. You may seek advice, walk with a supervisor, read or listen to teachings. Yet, in the end, it is your confessing and self-awareness, your shriving and acceptance of forgiveness, your response-ability, your choice as to how you will follow God’s Way. Feast on what is good, shake the dust off of what does not offer peace, and step into an Easter of restoration and renewal.
May you allow God’s angels to hold you up with their hands, so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.
A classic gathered community of relatives and friends, grieving together, illuminates the humanity that binds us all. Grieving and sorrowing also disturbs our perspective – brokenness and blame, belief and benevolence.
Let me try to sum it up and describe it in this way. Beginner’s mind is a readiness to always be in awe, to always be excited. We see it in children and in people who don’t filter everything through the brain. Beginner’s mind is one’s mind before the hurts of life have made us cautious and self-protective.
Jesus said, ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, to make it bear even more.’ (John 15:1–2)