My yard is full of weeds this late winter week. I’ve seen this happen before when we’ve moved into a different house and started the progress to an organic lawn and garden maintenance program. Without harsh weed suppressants, the not yet healthy lawn is permeable to every possible weed right now. It’s messy and a little frustrating. I want to just blast it with some magic quick fix product and be done with it. I also know the cost of doing that. While it may better in the short run, I’m continuing to contribute to the essential unhealth and unsustainability of the system in the long run.
So, as I take the longer, slower route to creating a vibrant and healthy soil to nourish healthy and beautiful plants. The underlying health has to be there, though, for the visible beauty of the eventual product to be more than just show. Too often, I just want the outward “show” without the time and energy necessary for the more hidden health underneath to do its work.
As the Christian season known as “Lent” approaches, I keep coming back to this need for a healthy foundation in order to produce a good outward show. This 40 day period is set aside as a time for an honest and rigorous examination of our own selves. It’s a time to ask: “In what ways do I love God and love my neighbor as myself?” And, “In what ways do I NOT love God and love my neighbor as myself?” So much like growing a healthy and productive garden, which needs well-nourished soil, we need to check and see what kind of nourishment we ourselves need so our lives show themselves full of productivity.What needs to be added? What needs to be changed? What habits, attitudes, practices, patterns of thinking and living mean more health and wholeness and which ones means less? In what ways are we cooperating with God in learning to live as people who have received love and reconnection? In what ways are we resistant to the movement of the Spirit of God in our lives?
This six week period is an ideal time for that careful self-examination. The best way to begin it is to attend a Service of Ashes. When the ashes are marked upon your forehead or hand, it is a sign that you take seriously the need for careful examination of your mind and soul and heart. You have taken the first step to a more mindful life, and a better foundation on which to base it. Out of that springs such beauty!!!!
Let us all have a holy Lent together.