John and I went to Ash Wednesday services last night. In the liturgical year I guess it marks a kind of back to basics in terms of understanding our human nature, neediness, and ultimate hope.
I also use it as a time to mark the beginning of spring (for Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers like me, any mental exercise that will help is welcomed). Week by week we meet and eat together to get a grip on our place in the world and to listen to what new thing God has to say to us.
There is something so reassuring to me about Lent. Each week, the sun stays out a little longer, temperatures get a little warmer. A little more green, my winter stuff starts to look out of place and I go digging for Spring decorations.
During the service we had to come up with a word that described what our expectation of Lent this year would be. John’s was “silence” Mine was “joubt”–a combination of “joy” and “doubt” (I suck at Scrabble by the way). This seems to describe my spiritual life right now–a joy in the truth that is shaded by doubt about whether or not we’ll get to see many of the good things that are possible in this world. Is there such a thing as joyful pessimism? I hope it isn’t the same thing as cynicism because I was kind of hoping to give that up for Lent.