As I was driving to work the other day, the barren branches of roadside oaks caught my eye. If any trees ever looked like they were straight from a fairy tale, these do. I could just imagine their "fingers" coming to life and scaring medieval children who were silly enough to get lost at night in a forest. It had been snowing here recently, and I thought how lovely and dramatic they'd be with a dusting of white to highlight their bare twisted branches. (Just some wishful thinking...)
If I didn't know better, those trees would look dead; there are no visible signs of life, other than the lichen and mistletoe that call them home. But they are not dead; they are in their season of dormancy, necessary to rest and nourish them to enable the continuance of life.
Lent is such a season for me. When I move too quickly, I miss much of the sacred. To experience life with all my senses, I must slow down, take time, drink in, take stock. God knows this; I wonder if He's forever feeling He must slow me down! Lent provides a simpler way of life; it helps me reflect. It helps me to see the lie in equating busyness with a full life.
Yes, Lent can feel barren, but if I sit really still, I can sense life breeding just under the surface.