By Sister Christine Parks
We’ve had sunshine two days in a row now, a rarity in February in Michigan. I confess I’ve never been particularly fond of February (Valentine’s Day notwithstanding) but on days like this my spirit lifts out of the slough of mid-winter, as the drab landscape brightens. I can look out and imagine a bit of green lying just below the surface—ready to burst upward reaching for the sun, and renewed life.
It’s always seemed appropriate that Lent should begin in this backwater time of winter, (at least in our hemisphere) when our spirits can be at their lowest ebb. When the grey sky seems to have fallen so low and heavy and cold that all we want to do is huddle under a comforter with a cup of hot tea and a good book.
Instead we rise, face the day, scrape off the car (if we aren’t blessed with a garage) and shiver into another day. And then Lent comes! Lent with its promise, more reliable than a hundred groundhogs, of spring. Lent, with its movement through the recurring cycle of lengthening days, increasing light, and inevitable greening. No accident that our spiritual ancestors of two millennia ago chose this time of year to remember and relive the mystery of Christ’s journey through life, into death and then the illimitable joy of rebirth.
Yesterday I went to the Greater Lansing Orchid show—and there it was, the miracle of burgeoning life in the beauty surrounding us. In the face of those gorgeous blooms—their amazing variety of size, shape and color—that mostly live on air, I could anticipate the coming of another spring. March arrives, and whether it comes gentle and a lamb, or roaring like a lion we can be assured that the rebirth of nature, our own and the landscape around us is only weeks away. We can be assured that the journey through winter, like the journey through Lent, can lead us down into the depths of our being and back up to the joy of resurrection—ready to sing another season’s “Alleluia”.
About the Author
Sister Christine Parks currently serves as a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph Leadership Team. Her leisure activities include gardening, long walks in nature, reading, writing, attending plays and concerts, as well as museums.