Though Lent can be loud and wild, a bit crazy, out of its mind, and trembling with an anxiety which threatens to the burst the soul, it must also know lengthy bits of calm. The issue is how… how can we create calm? Does it come from the outside in, or is it embedded in the genes, merely the reflection of some stoic or Swedish inclination?
Calm can indeed be created by yoga, meditation, walking, jogging, good music, a good book, or even a good conversation or meal. Calm is often the result of simply making a choice, waving the white flag, and surrendering the desire to be in control. It is our lust to be in charge which spews forth most chaos, and so relinquishing said power is likely to calm the waters.
For me, there is one sure way to find calm - To forgive myself. I admit this is neither easy, nor frequent, but it is mercy alone which soothes my soul and calms my ever present rage and fear. What am I forgiving? Everything…all of the time.. and in relationship to everyone. I know in my depths that much of the time I must love the enemy, because I have so often made everyone and everything into one.
Sound dramatic? Well, of course, the great drama of Life is how we manage to ceaselessly find fault with ourselves and our neighbors and our God. The Bible calls us to pray without ceasing, but we misread that as “prey”; always looking for the weak link, the flaw or failing, the crack or crevice, the blemish on the tip of the nose. Are we always this bad, this desirous of getting even? Yes, and more than we could possibly admit in a single sitting.
For me, it is a magnificent mercy which frees my scrambled mind to cease its spin; the ache of my yearning to no longer throb; my broken heart to bind or mend; my weary soul to refill; and my life feel as though is just might be worth it.
On Christmas Eve, when we sing the lovely lyric, “all is calm and all is bright”, it captures the peace which does pass all understanding. As we gaze upon an innocent infant, without any need to judge or critique, we still can be stunned by the lava of love which will flow. The lowly infant is pure, even holy, and there is a hush and calmness in the air. We can breathe easily, and our steps are confident and courageous. Calm brings out our truest most gracious Selves.
O, Lord of Lent, calm oozes out of the human wound called Grace, and Grace is liquid love, and this river of love flows steady and strong on a current of mercy. We will go with the flow. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.