A programming note:
My blogging schedule is going to be different next week given that it will be Holy Week. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday will be given over to reflections about each of their days. Tuesday and Wednesday will be days of poetry.
I will then go offline from three p.m. on Friday afternoon until early Sunday morning in order to mourn the death of God; there will be no post on Saturday.
* * *
Last week I didn’t have any more words with which to write about Lent. I don’t suppose that I’ve acquired them in the last week.
But I need to write them anyway. I need to call them into being. I need them like I need breath and joy and water.
I need words to mediate my existence. To define my experience. To note and categorize and define and obscure and hide and shroud in mystery.
I need words for Lent because I need Lent to mean something. I need for this to be more than a stupid exercise in going without some of the stuff I enjoy for 45 days.
I need words for Lent because I need Lent to be memorialized. I need a record of my encounter with doubt and faith and worship and pain and guilt and repentance.
I used to speak to myself derisively about this need:
I should be satisfied with the experience.
I shouldn’t feel the need to share myself with everyone in earshot.
If I must, I could keep a private journal.
But now I know better.
I know that words allow me to construct the meaning of an experience.
I know that words allow me to create beauty and truth. To name pain and struggle.
And I know that words are like the strokes of an artist’s brush. Or the notes of a musician’s instrument.
I know that words create and destroy people.
And during Lent—hell, during most of my life—the words I choose are tinged with darkness, with the shadows edging out the sun.
They are sharp, like the first bite of frost determined to not be domesticated by Santa.
And jagged, like the piece of glass pulled from a foot amid spurting blood.
And obscure, like a flickering red light at the end of a dark hallway.
And melancholy, like a six-year-old whose hamster just died and whose mom doesn’t care.
But these words are my words. And my words reflect, comment on, and construct my experience and beliefs and identity.
And as Holy Week approaches, I will worship God with my words. For, as David Dark has written:
The call to worship is a call to complete candor and radical questioning . . . We aren’t called to fake or pretend. We’re called to say what we see. God won’t be sought or found by lying optimism.