Peeling Away the Layers

The last couple of days my body has asked for rest and so I have listened rather than pushed forward.  And in the quiet spaces I have been listening. Lent is doing its work on me.  Shadows are being illumined, layers of myself are being peeled back to reveal the depths of who I am, my grip is being loosened on unhealthy patterns.  Amazing work, often unnerving work, is moving within me.  I have had many moments of profound grace this season as well, and as a result I am being invited into some external and internal places I was quite certain I would not be exploring back when Ash Wednesday marked the start of this season with its stark reminder of our fragile beings. Oh, the plans we make for ourselves.

Then the always wonderful Jan Richardson comes along and says it so well — “Lent is not for sissies” is well heeded alongside her reminder that the pain and violence of Jesus’ death still awaits us. In her reflection on this week’s Gospel passage she writes:

Go into the things you shrink from, Jesus tells his hearers—and us—in this passage. Go into the questions, the mysteries, the paradoxes, the seeming contradictions. Go into the Lenten dying that is not dying after all. We work so very hard at letting go, sometimes, trying to train ourselves to release our grip on all that is not God. But what if it is not about giving up but giving in? Falling into dirt, as Jesus says here.

So many questions still linger in me, so many contradictions and paradoxes to live into, to breathe into. What are the things I still shrink from?  What am I giving into these days?  How do I fall into the earth of my soul?

And how about you?  Where are you on the Lenten journey these spring days?

(c) Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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