Where I live in Central Missouri the recent days have been flooded with blue skies and warmth. They are a tease for what is to come; the hope of growth and renewal about to burst forth. But I know March is only beginning and we’re not quite to spring. It seems Lent does that to us too – teases us with hope and renewal in the midst of wading through the darkness.
It’s all too easy to stay in the darkness. At any given moment I have a running list in my head of what I fear: sickness, war, violence, injustice, bullying. It’s all too easy to stay stuck in the cycle of fear and dread, lament and sadness. And Lent does lend itself to reflecting on this darkness and wandering in the wilderness with Jesus. The darkness seems all-consuming at times, questions of ‘why do we even bother’ run through our heads. Yet, the darkness is not where we are called to stay. There is more waiting for us. The dawning light always returns.
I’ve taken on a number of practices over the years during Lent. For the last few years Lent has primarily been experienced through connection – to God, neighbors, and myself. Some disciplines include letter writing, journal writing, less phone and social media usage, daily walks. And in each of those acts I hoped to connect deeper to God, others, and myself. This year I’ve been taking a few minutes each day to see the light, to find the glimmer of hope in my days and in the world. I’ve been mindful to write down what’s bringing me joy each day and offering a prayer of thanks. It’s a way for me to pay attention and to write it down. It’s an intentional act to recognize God’s presence in my life.
One day last week I took my children for a walk. After the walk, I wrote the following:
Took a walk
To clear my thoughts
The dog pulled
The kids yelled
I pressed my face to the clouds
A tiny ray of sun breaks through.
It doesn’t take long to find light, to give thanks to God. I’m being reminded this Lent over and over again that God is a God of life, hope, and grace. A God who walked through the darkness so we would never have to do it alone. A God who continually makes all things new.
What are you doing this Lent to be more aware of God’s work in the world? Where are you finding light amidst the darkness? Take a few moments to open your eyes and see, really see, what’s right in front of you – light breaking through the clouds.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website or follow her work on Facebook.