Lent is an exercise in patience as much as discipline. It is, after all, a fairly long season. 40 days.
We’re not quite half way through. I have to admit, I’m glad for that because something dawned on me last night as I was reading to the kids before bed.
We started a new book last night…Wrinkle In Time from Madeleine L’Engle. One of my favorite books and I’ve been waiting until the right time to read it to them. I wanted them to get caught up in the story.
Last night I read the first chapter and introduced them to Mrs. Whatsit.
I finished the chapter and it looked like Nate was falling asleep so I declared that was the extent of the reading for the night.
“NO!!” Zach was mad. No other way to describe his reaction. “You are so unfair! You do this every time..you read too little!”
I loved it. I told him that meant this was a good book…he was already hooked. Nate woke up enough to ask for another chapter so they met Mrs. Who before going to sleep.
They really wanted me to just tell them more about the book….where’s Meg’s father? What is he doing? Who is Mrs Who? What are they preparing for?
And that’s when it struck me….patience is tied to wonder. They are of this generation that likes everything immediately and they are not patient. They do not like to wait. They like to read the last pages of a book first and know the end.
When we rush things we miss the wonder. They would miss all the excitement of following Meg and Charles Wallace and Calvin on their adventure….and they would miss discovering along with the characters what there is to learn in the adventure.
Same with Lent.
I keep thinking about Easter. I want to skip to the end. I want the result without the process, but I would miss out on the wonder. I would miss out on what 40 days of walking in the “desert” would do in my soul.
So, on this Monday morning I’m excited to slow down and settle more into the process of Lent. I’m satisfied for today to focus on just today and to contemplate Jesus in the wilderness and the temptations He faced (but He did not face them until the end….after the process). I’m satisfied to let wonder brew in me a little before we come to Easter…
Don’t be discouraged by the long process God takes with us. Don’t be too hurried to get to the end…allow the process to open your eyes to the wonder of God working in our midst and transforming us. Allow yourself, and myself, time to be in suspense about who we will become….
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ