There is just nothing pretty about the color gun metal grey. It reflects no light. It offers up no mood or atmosphere, except maybe the thought of war. It is void of charm, and without zest. It is just plain flat and thick and as close to ugly as a color can get – not the first choice for any bedroom I have seen.
Lent is also not pretty. There are no carols or candles or wreathes or lights. The bonnets and bunnies and trumpeting lilies still seem in the distance. No, Lent is stark and bare and to some degree, brittle, riddled with shards of sharp metal.
Lent is not inviting, nor is it a particularly good host. It is just not all that welcoming or warm. Lent is like a nasty arrogant host who makes you feel like he or she cannot wait for you to leave. Lent creates a natural anxiety, a sense of fear without an object. An awareness that something is missing, something is off, way off.
Maybe it is just that Lent is not meant to be homey. It is not a time to feel cozy or content or bask in belonging. Just the opposite--Lent is a time when we are pulled from the ground of Grace, and made to fly solo for a spell. The sky is boiled and blank, and it is hard to tell down from up. It is dizzying.
We are forced to take stock, and be rigorously examined. We get our grades for service and sacrifice, and few of us have come close to passing. Many of us were given a big fat zero. On the whole Lent is a bottoming, as least at first, and the rising is sluggish and feels uncertain. Easter remains the hope, but we wonder if anything will change. We ask ourselves if we believe in a resurrection.
At times Lent is no more than cleaning the clutter, and rearranging the attic of our memory. Much of the time Lent is spent in a prevailing sadness, a longing for something different to happen, and for happiness to return like an unexpected guest – just show up.
The color of a battleship or a barrel full of acid, battleship grey is a tint which speaks the hard truth that Life is often just plain boring and difficult. Lent is when we face that spiritual fact. It is never easy.
O, Lord of Lent, give is the strength to accept, even embrace, the staleness which will frequent our lives, and the stagnation which will haunt our souls. Offer us a ray of hope. 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.