I started this Lent by actually shriving on Shrove Tuesday.
I almost didn’t: my church is small, and my confessor is my priest is my spiritual director, and I am self-conscious enough on any given Sunday. But something was calling me to empty myself, even (especially) of my own litany of self-recrimination, to make room for God to work.
The granted absolution, welcome as it was, didn’t quite land in that moment.
Nor did it land on Ash Wednesday, even though I heard twice the invitation to a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; prayer, fasting, and self-denial; reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.
But two days later fell a soft blanket of forgiveness. My eyes could see what my heart had been granted: a world both new and empty.
Lent offers us the chance to see the shapes and shadows of our relationship with God without getting lost in the sticks, stones, leaves, and litter. It reminds us that there is always the chance to start over, to start again, to start from here, where God is.
Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away! (Psalm 32)