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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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5 Responses

  1. in many ways i could just transport your post over to my place. i feel like i am in this flow of living into and letting go. falling in the dirt and letting that be good. jan’s words re: parodox and mystery resonated…”The cure for mystery? More mystery. The cure for paradox? More paradox.” big doses of both are being served up for my lenten (life) experience. :-) definitely not for sissies!!!

  2. I am also glad you are listening to your body, Christine. Lent has been so chaotic that I have not had time to pay attention to the journey…sad for the missed opportunity but maybe the real journey continues underneath the chaos.

  3. An outward desire for fame and gain could be the ugly “burlap” we wear on the outside, in order to hide our immortal wings, and pure and loving hearts.

  4. I’m so glad you’ve been able to listen to your body’s call for rest.

    I would be lying if I said that the layers of Lent have been illuminating. It’s all been really rather pedestrian so far. And perhaps that’s another way of it not being a time for sissies!

  5. Lovely post and provocative questions. My lenten journey is opening me to additional and existing creativity in my life. I find when focusing on Lent as I have in my posts this month, that I find Lent in images and in life all around me. It’s a blessed journey!