Fear is pervasive, powerful, and worn like a shroud. Fear is a patchwork quilt, made up from all sorts of worries. There is the ever-present pounce of anxiety. There is a sense of dread. There is a thick coating of regret, and the drum beat of “what if?”
Lent claims this fear, in fact, invites it in for a forty-day visit. Lent knows we must pick up this cross, and we must carry it. We must clutch our fears and worries and anxieties to our chest, and name them one by one. Then, and only then, can we begin to tame them.
Lent is wise. Lent is aware we can never be fully fear free. Our worries may not always swarm, but we all will, from time to time, hear a buzzing about our head. Fear is being human, trying to live while knowing we will someday die, and is bound to create a significant number of qualms.
Lent is when we must entertain our fright. We must be the good host. In getting to know that which can terrorize us, we begin to understand the roots of our anxiety and the sources of our fear. They are real, and not imagined, but they are also not nearly as powerful as we once believed.
Lent is like a peace conference. Both sides must be represented and heard. That within us which wages a war of worry, and that within us which seeks and creates peace – the peacemaking side. Like Jesus meeting Satan in the desert, Satan does not disappear, but departs until a more opportune time. Jesus accepts the presence of Satan.
As Lent progresses, the fear begins to fade. Lent has been moving us, transforming us, freeing us of our fears by managing them, and reminding us we have the courage and creativity to make them work for us.
I call this process “an eastering”; the lifting of the fog so we can see the light shine against the rain clouds, and spawn a rainbow or two.
O, Lord of Lent, free us to shake hands and swap souls with our enemies, including our myriad worries and fears and anxieties. 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.