I think of Lent as being painted in charcoal grey. It is a dark spiritual season, with only a hint of light – akin to an eclipse.
When we walk into a darkened movie theater, we must adjust to the absence of light; except for those tiny lights on the floor or the red light of the exit signs. Lent requires just such an adjustment, as we reflect upon some very gloomy realities, not the least of which is Death itself.
Lent is a journey down into the heart of great guilt and grief. It is paying a visit to despair and sorrow. It is passionate walk through the gloaming. Lent is not necessarily depressing, but it can be sobering. IT wakes us up, makes us take notice, and forces us to finally pay attention. It demands the recognition that every day we are living we are also dying.
Lent teaches the organic chemistry of spirituality, that Life does not follow some exact or reasonable course. Though we try to believe everything happens for a reason, Lent offers testimony this is not the case. Though the Church has long tried to explain the need for a brutal crucifixion, or the absurd trauma of making a mother watch, there are no words of clarity to explain why such goodness met such evil.
Think of it like trying to comfort the parent who has lost a child -- again, there are simply no words, not a single one. In fact, only a silent presence might offer a morsel of understanding; a tear or sigh may also indicate genuine empathy, but remain void of any answers.
Lent, like charcoal grey, is almost black. It is indeed the color of a darkened sun with only a halo of light. This halo, however, is enough light by which to see – and miraculously, to believe.
O, Lord of Lent, make the darkness visible. Enable us to find our way through the deep and dark pain of loss and loneliness. Let a glimmer of hope shine. Be our night light so that we may still find rest. Keep us believing in the coming goodness of the dawn. 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.