And so it is Lent, a time to draw—with reverent intention—closer to God. I have always loved this quiet season, this time of deep reflection that begins with the solemnity of the Ash Wednesday service.
you are dust, and to dust you shall return
We had received the imposition of ashes when she turned to me, our foreheads marked, and said: What have you decided about Lent?
It was my dear friend, Donna, a woman I believe to be an angel on this earth.
Oh I said without much conviction. I’ve been thinking about keeping a Lenten journal. Of course I’ve tried it the last three years, and I have yet to accomplish writing every day. So I’m not sure why I think it’s such a great idea. And then I kind of laughed.
She looked me right in the eye. Then she smiled in her beautiful Donna way.
Maybe every day doesn’t matter she said, with heart. Maybe writing once a week, or just when you need to, is enough.
I have to tell you, I had to think about that a sec.
She waited patiently, my friend did. And then she added this.
God doesn’t divide time into 24-hour segments, you see. We do that. Our time is not God’s time.
Donna is right, of course. God’s time is not our time is a concept that is not foreign to me. I understand we wildly impatient humans must trust that all of life unfolds in an arc of time that extends from creation, an arc not marked by our earthly calendar. “God’s time,” yes. But there is something new to me in reversing the idea, in pointing it the other direction. Our time is not God’s time. And so God, too, is patient, giving us the wide berth we need to journey, to find our bumbling way along His time continuum.
It is a thought that allows me to exhale in a profound way. It is an insight that fills me with extraordinary peace. You see, I too often view my life as a series of To Do lists—a daily accounting of things to be accomplished, compounding tasks that require a rising level of competence and speed. And at the end of most days, when I put my head on the pillow and look back over it all, what I most often feel is frustration. And stress. Oh yes, stress.
But our time is not God’s time.
There is no stopwatch. There is only an endless pool of love and acceptance and grace, grace that wraps around us, imperfect us, grace full and glorious and holy.
I exhale. And then I offer thanks to God for giving me work to do and for giving me time—His time—to get it done.
30 Days of Grace III
*Thank you to my sweet friend, Sarah Stumpo, for allowing me to use this photo she took at the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. What a beautiful way to step into Lent.