A few years ago I encountered the idea that the pattern of Life, Death, and Resurrection are found everywhere within our world. It was an idea that I hadn’t really given much thought to until then. A few years later, I am much more aware of the pattern and see it played out in at least 3 ways in my own life.
My Natural Life
This one is pretty straight forward. I was born, I am living, one day I will die, and I believe that I will experience some form of resurrection after death. As simple as this example is, it is humbling to know that our own lives will follow the very same pattern as the rest of creation. It helps remind us how connected with all of Creation we really are despite our best efforts to deny it.
Stages of Life
Each of us, when we look back a few years, can find ways that we have changed. We have experienced growth, sometimes painful growth, and have in many ways become completely different people from those in old pictures that bear a striking resemblance to us.
A significant personal example is my journey into Fatherhood. When Nicole and I found out we were expecting in September of 2010, my life as a man with no children of my own began to die. As most of you know, we miscarried only a few weeks later. Through our miscarriage and the dark days that followed, there was significant struggle, nourishment, and enrichment that was happening below the surface–as if the soil of my soul was being enriched with the nutrients born out of deep and painful loss. In November of 2011, when Emery was born, I began experiencing the resurrection of something from within that same soil. My old life was completely dead and the new was beginning to be born. As time continues on, my new life is becoming more and more evident, as is the story with all of Creation experiencing resurrection.
As I have begun to pay more attention to what goes on below the surface, in my soul, I have noticed that much of my inner work follows the seasons. Fall often leads to a sort of dying to pieces of myself that have been exposed as unhealthy or too attached to my ego. The darkness and solitude of Winter often provides a space for deep introspection and meditation. This tends to feel like nourishment–though not always comfortable nourishment.
This is where Lent comes in. This period of spiritual reflection and practice ushers us into Spring. Days get longer and signs of life begin to take shape around us. Lent offers us the space to reflect on what, within us, has died during our Winter and what is being resurrected during our Spring. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to join with the rest of Creation and allow this pattern of Life, Death, and Resurrection to be fully experienced.
My own understanding of the Lenten Fast, is that it’s a simple reminder to pay attention. It’s a reminder to pay attention to what God is leading us to let go of (to allow to die) as well as what God is raising up within us. It seems that fasting from something you thoroughly enjoy is the best way to make sure this reminder happens often. It’s a good way to ensure that we are awake enough to not miss the very natural, and good process taking place within each and every one of us.
I pray that this season will be one that draws us into a deeper awareness of God as well as a deeper awareness of ourselves.