March 2, 2022
In the Christian tradition, today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the six-week period called Lent and is a day to ponder our own mortality. Considering the last two years of perpetual Lent co-existing with the pandemic, it seems sometimes that pondering our own mortality is all we have been doing. And now, with the war in Ukraine and the possibility of that war extending throughout Europe and even beyond, Ash Wednesday feels redundant. We get it. We are all going to die. Besides that, what can we really do about any of these trials and tribulations?
I have been pondering that question, and the answer I have received is twofold: I can continue to create, and I can continue to pray. I have read several bloggers recently who lament that they cannot write their stories, poems, essays because of the weight of this current darkness. Yes, it is difficult because there are no words that can make any sense out of war. Further, does what we write even matter? But what I hear is, “Keep writing anyway.” Keep creating because creating is an act of life. Keep offering whatever it is you have to offer because the rest of us need to witness that faithful resilience.
And I also hear “Keep praying.” I admit that prayer is tricky and that I sometimes wonder if prayer “works,” but “works” is a human term, not a spiritual one. Prayer is an admission, or humble realization, that there is indeed something/someone larger, more infinite, more caring than any of us can ever be. However we choose to pray, prayer grounds us, roots us, in each other and in God (by whatever name we each call God) and in this crazed, white-water world, I need grounding. I need to know I am not alone.
So, on this first day of Lent, when so many of us are tired, frightened, or at a loss for words, I offer a prayer. God breathed God’s name with the two-syllable word “Yahweh.” The country we currently hold in our hearts has a two-syllable name, Ukraine. I breathe in “Yah” and breathe out “weh.” I breathe in “U” and breathe out “Kraine.” I trust that the One Who is Bigger than Us will fill in the blanks.
I honestly do not know what else to do except to be, and “being” includes, for me, creating and praying. I remind myself that the word Lent comes for an old Germanic word meaning “spring,” and with spring come new life and hope. Winter cannot last forever.
“Being” with you this Lent ~ Rosemary
And this is prayer:
The black cat perched
on my lap this new morning
silky fur against one hand
the weight and aroma of the coffee mug
in the other
as we two creatures gaze
at Spring’s emerald leaves
in the early breeze.
Only yesterday, it seems,
bare branches alone reached heavenward
but today hickory and elm wear veils of green
in praise before the Creator.
The cat purrs,
I lift my palms,
both offering our amen.
(c) Rosemary McMahan