I don’t travel to new places very often; I love being at home. A couple weeks ago I broke the mold and traveled to southern California to spend time with my sister, and we spent a Saturday at Disneyland. The day was a happy whirl of rides, lines, ice cream, and warm sunshine, but around 3:30 that afternoon, when the park was at its most busy and we couldn’t walk without bumping into someone, I began to feel the effects of the crowds. As a child, I might have pitched a fit. But as such tantrums are not tolerated with adults (however much we might want to), I agreed with my sister that a half hour break in the car would be good for both of us. I recognized unmistakable symptoms of being overtired, irritable, and, in this new environment with so many unknown faces, a little fragile, too.
The next day, my sister and I visited my grandma who had recently suffered a minor stroke. My sister and I helped her from her wheelchair to the
Two weeks later, I sat in the Ash Wednesday service at church and listened to the words of invitation to the observance of Lent:
“Friends in Christ, every year at the time of the Christian Passover, we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to
As the sign of the cross was marked on my forehead with ashes, I was struck by the troubling paradox in the words of invitation, new life and frailty in the same breath. It’s like Lent itself, a season marked by penitence and fasting, which is puzzlingly placed at the time of year when the created world is bursting into new life. The grass becomes green again, the trees straighten towards the light, and flowers emerge from the cold ground.
I realized as I felt the ash on my forehead that my grandma and I both represented the paradox of Lent. My grandma, whose earthly body is failing, is headed for the new life that