Today is the first day of Lent. Similar to last year, I’ve decided to blog each day and have been prayerfully considering a theme to go along with the 40 days of preparation for Easter.
One of the gifts of Lent is the building of a habit. The season provides an opportunity to attain a greater good. To realize a goal that, without the discipline, remains constantly just out of reach.
And writing each day fits well into that category for me. It is, without a doubt, my heart’s desire, and yet the resistance I feel to do it each day is equally as fierce. If I’m honest, the resistance usually wins. It is like that constant force of gravity preventing me from reaching escape velocity. Left to myself, I inevitably succumb to it.
But Lent tilts the balance back in my heart’s favor. It is always a wilderness journey, but I am hungry for it. To experience that deep satisfaction of perseverance. To feel the freedom of delayed gratification. And to find myself clinging to God for strength beyond my limited capacities.
This year, I’ve decided to use a metaphor that Macrina Wiederkehr employs in her beautiful book, “A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary.” In it she talks about the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, and how the two children were cast out of their home by a wicked stepmother and left alone in the woods but would follow a trail of breadcrumbs home. She compares that voice of the stepmother to the voice inside of each one of us, that false self that drives us from our home. That voice that tells us that we don’t belong, that we don’t measure up, and that we’ve strayed too far or have fallen behind.
But the crumbs have been placed by God to lead us home. To remind us of who we are. To show us the love of the Father. To remind us that we are treasured.
Each breadcrumb is an invitation. In each one we discover a powerful reminder of God’s intentional love for us. That He knows us. He sees us. And he longs for us to return. To find our way home.
Macrina writes, “on the way home I discover both my need and my strength. Coming home is a process. I find the way on the way.”
This is my goal for Lent. To search each day for a breadcrumb. To find that tiny gift that points me towards a much greater truth. That silences my inner critic. That instead speaks to my true heart, that delights in that inmost, vulnerable place, and that beckons me one step closer on my way.
My hope is that you would join me each day, and that we might journey together. Regardless of whether you are adding something to your schedule or taking something away, my prayer is that we would find comfort and comradery as we follow the path of Jesus towards the cross, out of the grave, and into eternal life.