Driving to work the other day, I saw a bald eagle soaring overhead. Then I saw two more– a total of three bald eagles. Soaring. Two were adults, with a juvenile who was following.
Seriously, I almost wrecked the car.
Okay– now about Lent. Somehow Lent always sneaks up on me. I want to have plans, to have a six-week vegetarian menu plan set. I want to have considered deeply and prayed about what discipline will get to the root of my corrupt self, to let God shine his light on the darkness in me…
And every year, right about now (Shrove Tuesday), I almost fall over in shock. Whoa– it’s Lent? Already? The house is full of meat. There are no candles in the house. I haven’t thought a bit about what discipline I’d like to follow.
And if I’m honest, it’s probably because I like it this way. Epiphany is a good season for me — a season of light, and sharing, and home and hospitality. But Lent? Lent is a season of reflection and discipline and prayer and fasting.
Those aren’t my strengths.
And yet, those are exactly the areas where I say I’d like to grow.
I’d also like to take up bird-watching. I’d like to be a person who’s planned ahead for what I might see– for what is likely to be out there at this time of year. I’d like to have an idea of what a wood peewee or a golden vireo looks and sounds like, so that if I saw one, I’d be able to say, "Wow! That’s a wood peewee!" instead of asking myself, "Wow– what’s that bird? It’s got wings and a feathers, and it’s brown…" I’d like to see the bald eagles– who live around here, multiple pairs of them actually– when I’ve prepared to see them, when I’d have a chance to get out of the car and watch them soar without the likelihood of causing a six car pile-up. But that would take planning ahead, and patience. And time.
Which is exactly what Lent is: planning ahead for Easter. Taking time. Learning patience.
And maybe in the process, I’ll learn to soar, like that fledgling eagle.