My mind wants to finish that quote with some variation on Shakespeare's...."in its petty pace from day to day." But it is surely not creeping. Hurtling perhaps? That feels closer to my pace sometimes. And hurtling and Lent are surely not compatible. It seems that most of my solitary reflection time has been of the necessary variety driven by sermon prep, or at the direction of others like at our recent ministry team retreat day. Until I finish my Soup and Sermon offering next Wednesday for our local ministerium, I'm feeling pushed to get things done, rushed by deadlines and, I have to admit, more than a little cranky about it all at times.
I am still having some euphoric recall about last Lent, though I have been reminded more than once that life, in its seasons, changes, and clearly, I am in a different one now. Last year was an interior time, and I needed it to be so. I was learning and facing new truths about myself and my place in the world and I needed space and peace and time away with God as a holding place in which to accomplish that soul work, and to heal from some of the buffeting my spirit and psyche were taking in the outside world as well. The outside world in which I live today is a much warmer, safer place, and I am just as likely to encounter God without as within. But it is for me like learning the beauty of a new landscape. It is just as lovely as the old one, it feeds the soul every bit as much...it simply requires an adjustment of the inner eye to realize this, to acknowledge and remember.
R and I went to his uncle's funeral yesterday in a little Catholic church out in the middle of nowhere. There were probably two hundred people there....most of them related to him in some way or another. As his uncle's family came up from the church basement to process behind the casket it seemed as if the line of them would never end...his children and their children and theirs. The siblings who survive and their spouses...on and on they came, filling half a side of the church. The priest talked about C, how he was authentic, real and true, "What you saw was what you got with C." he said. And that he cared deeply for others, was there for them, stepped up, reached out. There is a strong strain of that here in this family. C was not related by blood to R...but he might as well be, for that priest was describing him as well. It is, I think, the culture of this people I am blessed enough to be joining. It runs deep in them. As we walked to the grave and stood in the drizzle in the small country cemetery to send C to his final rest, I thanked God that I am loved by this fine man and that I have come home at last to family.