This Lenten journey finds us in the midwest, unexpectedly welcomed to the
spacious and comfortable home of my cousin and his wife. We’re not here because of Lent – not exactly – but this season of life has been pointedly focused on things not normally set on our calendar.
We’ve followed my eldest son on his last trip to the WGI Percussion World Championships, a trip that is simply referred to as DAYTON. Daniel has done DAYTON five times now, and will hopefully be back as a member of an independent group in the future. As his younger brother follows in his footsteps, DAYTON will likely continue be a spring activity for our family over the next few years.
I’ve never been to this competition; last year, we decided we’d go for this, his senior swan song.
It’s been good, in so many ways. This tribe of passionate musicians inhabits a
world all its own; I am an outsider and will always be, but even so, it is an exhilarating glimpse into a singular force of commitment and focus and teamwork and leadership that I appreciate. Greatly.
And so we are here, and we have happily stumbled into the hospitality of my cousin and his wife, and therein I find glimpses of my history; the art of my aunt and uncle is displayed throughout this home. I remember these pieces, some of which hung in my parents’ home before the passing of my aunt and uncle. That tenuous connection of family and my own history grounds me, though I can’t quite lay claim to anything solid. This is my family. It just is.
And my Lenten journey continues, then, with family and history and new experiences and a glimpse of my son in the element that fuels his passion for life. Five weeks now, living just a bit differently than before. I have been away from Facebook (and ice cream, by the way) for these weeks, setting aside these two things as a “sacrifice”, which is laughable, in some contexts. But not for me, not now.
In these weeks away, something has changed. I struggled to find words as I spoke with my friend Bill yesterday; I am not sure I can articulate it.
Perhaps that is because it is not of my doing.
Somehow, in the course of these five weeks, my understanding of and appreciation for the Bible has become magnified. Enhanced. Set afire. All in a completely different, open, expansive way; it is as if I have never read the words before.
I see new things. I hear different stories. Passages that have been taught by countless preachers, emphasized in books and devotional readings, read as part of daily devotional time – they are new. Fresh. Connected with history. Connected with the present.
I am frustrated by my inability to communicate this.
Yesterday, I sent these words to my brother:
I’m reading Rohr and reading the Word and seeing things I’ve never seen before and I swear, I am in awe. I have NEVER experienced the Bible like this. The power is immense…it is beautiful and intense. I am actually feeling a physical reaction as I read…something primal and gut wrenching. And full of hope.
Things change. Paradigms shift. In weeks to come, the gift of hindsight will allow for more understanding. At this moment, I am grateful and overwhelmed, sinking solidly into the truth that has guided me, woven throughout my being. Thankful for the roots of spiritual possibility, free of the choking tendrils of labels and projects and religion. Thankful for the words of a prophet and teacher, a Son and a Savior, who is somehow alive and present.
It’s stunning, some new measure of grace.
One week to go.