Water is flung high in the air and falls again, singing. Ducks paddle calmly past. I have no idea why my seat faces away from all this beauty.
No idea. Except that it seems to be part of being human. Left to my own devices, I’m constantly curving in on myself, turning away from what I love most, being distracted and disoriented and failing to see the wonder even though it’s all right there because somehow, for some inexplicable reason, I keep turning my back to it.
That is why I need Lent.
I need it like a marriage needs an occasional weekend away. I need it because it’s possible to lose my first love, possible to get so used to the way things are that I lose sight of what they could be. Or to get so used to the way things seem that I lose sight of what they are.
I need Lent’s invitation to step out of numbing normalcy and look. Look again at the One who has given Himself to me, the One to whom I have given myself. Look again at our relationship: what is getting in the way of our daily life together being as joyful and holy and intimate an experience as it could be?
I need these forty days of walking with Jesus into the wilderness where I allow myself to be tested, allow everything to be stripped away that keeps me from living my belovedness. I need it – but I can only dare to go there when I remember that even for Jesus, the journey into the wilderness began in the Jordan, hearing Himself called Beloved. I walk with Him into the desert, walk hearing Him call me Beloved.
I need this journey with Jesus to the cross, my love for him deepening as I see him carry the cross for me. I need to listen to him speak as he walks that road with marriage on his mind. I need to let his love ignite love within me, love deep enough that I become able to pick up my own cross and follow because I can’t bear not to be where He is.