My personal history with the season of Lent tends to fly in the face of the reasons behind this time of fasting and repentance. Maybe it's because I've spent so many Lents in Mexico, where spring is making some significant gains. When the sun is shining and the temperature turns warmer, I'm compelled to celebrate life, leaving the reflection of my own/humanity's fickleness to another time of the year.
However, despite the sunshine, this is the time of year devoted to that reflection.
I remember one Ash Wednesday at Valpo when spring broke forth in bloom early that year, and on my way to the chapel my soul was singing with the birds in the trees. "From ashes you came and to ashes you will return" clashed horribly with the song of my soul that day.
Again this year, Ash Wednesday was misplaced on my personal calendar. Last week I found another gringa married to a Mexican, living in Saltillo, and she's connected with a church full of other expatriates living in Saltillo. They have a women's group that meets on Wednesday mornings (and provides childcare!). I showed up with wings on my feet, hovering just off the ground, so happy was I to have a gaggle of other adults to talk with.
Again, not excatly a somber day of reflection.
But maybe Lent will start to click with me after all. This morning Clara and I walked through the stations of the cross with about 20 other people from my neighborhood church. I hadn't ever done that before, and thought it might be a good discipline and help to get me in the "right" frame of mind.
As we were finishing, the seminarian who led the group mentioned that the Stations of the Cross is "un camino de dolor y encuentro." (a path of pain and . . . finding?) [if anyone has a better translation, please leave a comment.] By carrying my one-year-old on my hip the entire time, I completely agreed about the "road of pain". Oh, my poor back.
And, halfway through the stations, the husband of one of the women there brought in her little boy, roughly around Clara's age. They flirted with each other for the last few stations. I did, too, of course. And so did the boy's mom. So, through this experience I found one more potential friend in my own church, my own "encuentro".
It might not be exactly what the seminarian meant, but I do think God may have been smiling at me a little.
So thanks for that little bit of sunshine, God, at the end of that "path".