Yesterday was a change-over day. As I gathered the Christmas candles from the windows, those final vestiges of Christmas, the darkness appeared a little darker,,,a little scarier. The bright reds of Valentine love were replaced with the gentler shades of shamrocks, little faeries peeked out of their hiding places and whispered, “Spring” to my home, and a transition began within me as well.
Today is “Fat Tuesday”. It is the literal translation of Mardi Gras. Raised by an ex-communicated Canadian Catholic (because he married a protestant), my mom always called it “Shrove Tuesday” which means to strive – to confess. Celebrations from Epiphany to now are culminating as the King cakes and paczki are replaced by fasting, sacrifice and confession. The Lenten season has almost arrived on my doorstep.
I looked out the window for a while tonight. Watched as the snow/sleet mixture covered our front yard as the dogs romped and slid around, enjoying the rare chance to roll in such cold whiteness. My approach to the Lenten season has been different this year. The usual enjoyment has been missing. I’ve been —- I don’t know what I’ve been. Contemplative, perhaps is the closest word I can find. I’ve been reading a lot, praying more and digging into my faith with a big ol’ shovel.
I turn from the window and listen to the dogs and the hubby snore. I smile as their noisy breaths become synchronized. Mumbles emerge out of each of them as the snow/sleet mixture piles a little higher outside. The night has become quieter, and I am listening. For what I do not know. But I am listening.
According to Jewish tradition and law, we are in the middle of a Jewish Shemitah year (Sept. 24, 2014–Sept. 13, 2015). A time to honor God by resting the land and forgiving debt. The 7th year of a 7year period. 2015 is also a Jubilee year (the 7th year of 7 consecutive Shemitahs or in other words – the 49th year in a 50 year period).The 50th year then becomes a year of freedom for the Jewish people. It makes you wonder how closely the Jewish nation is tied to our nation, when you consider the recent history of Shemitah years in 2001 and 2008.
So as Lent approaches once again, I find myself waiting by the window. Listening. Watching. Praying. It is the nature of Lent. It is what Rabbi Yeshua did as He turned His feet towards the cross. I can do no less.
“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” Lk 29-31