If, like me, you slow down your frantic pace during Lent, you are left open for deeper introspection. That in itself can be troubling in some very real ways. For me, slowing down results in a magnification of my challenges and problems. When I take stock of reality, I often find myself focused squarely on the problems I am facing. It’s no fun, but it is real.
And life’s reality is one of the things Lent is about. It isn’t about fantasizing and having magical thinking about things. It is about looking at circumstances the way they really are, facing off against your problems, being honest about your emotions, being realistic about your situation.
Lenten introspection may not always be uplifting, but it is good for us. It helps us open our eyes for an honest glimpse of our lives. It helps us lean on the strength of God when we recognize our frailty. It helps us move ahead on life’s journey, even if what is ahead frightens us.
As you journey through Lent remember this advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”
As we move through Lent, we are not alone, but are cradled in the arms of a loving God. Problems do not separate us from God. Obstacles of life do not separate us from God. Acts of confession and contrition do not separate us from God. They draw us ever closer to the gifts of grace God offers us and free us to be led by our dreams.