“The practice of paying attention is the rarest of gifts because it depends upon the harshest of disciplines. So uncommon is it for us to grasp the beauty and mystery of ordinary things that, when we finally do so, it often brings us to the verge of tears. Appalled by our own poverty, we awake in wonder to a splendor of which we had never dreamed.”
– Belden Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes
The sun was shining yesterday like healing after a long, cold winter. The trees have exploded into buds white and pink and green, tiny fragile versions of their full selves. Every year I tell myself I’m going to notice. I’m going to watch and see the actual day when they first appear, when the green tendrils start sneaking up the brown blades of grass. But every year I miss it. Every year there is some morning when I wake and all of a sudden spring is here. The buds are open and the grass is a shade of green I had forgotten existed. The wonder of new life is bursting forth from every crack of the earth.
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It’s Holy Week. I want to pay attention.
If all of Lent is a time to enter into the sufferings of Christ, to attempt to understand just the tiniest fraction of what He lost and what He sacrificed and what He carried, then Holy Week takes this entering in to another level, because we know some of these stories. We know some of what He did this week. We know how it started, with the triumphal entry worthy of a King, and we know that just 5 days later, those same adoring crowds were calling for His death.
5 days. I wake up and get dressed and go to work and eat and talk and drive and lie down again and 5 days can pass without hardly a thought. How can an entire city, a worldview, a belief, change so unbelievably quickly? Exaltation and hope to hatred and comtempt in 5 days. A blink of an eye.
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