Lent and Grief?

Some years I have chosen to participate in Lent, the forty days leading up to Easter. Other years I have chosen not to. This year was going to be one of those ‘not to’ years. It seemed like it would just land up being another thing to add to the list of things that’s just ‘too much’ right now. Then it came to me–God’s gentle whisper, perhaps–grief and lent go hand in hand.

In the journey of grief, there are various stages we have to go through. We really don’t have much choice. Right now I think I would classify myself in the stage of depression. Not in the sense of clinical depression, but in the sense that I am easily overwhelmed, I have the blahs, I don’t have much energy, and I feel helpless. At first I fought this stage. Depression can get ugly. I know that, but recently I’ve come to the understanding that depression in grief is different than clinical depression. It is a passage I must go through. I can go about the basic daily routines no problem, but I feel like I am at 70% capacity.

When thinking about lent and grief I realized that there are passages that we can go through in the 40 day journey of lent. We move from darkness to light, sorrow to joy, fear to trust, and death to life. When I think about it, that is very closely linked to grief. Those are each passages we must walk through.

This got me thinking about Ann Voskamp’s Trail to the Tree devotional that I went through a couple of years ago:

So, I dug through a few boxes, found some new branches, decorated those bare branches with our Spirited Girl, and answered His calling of “Where are you?”

I’m here.
I’m broken.
I’m sad.
I’m hopeful.
I’m thankful.
I’m looking up.
I’m on the first day of the trail to the tree that guarantees we get to see our Mikail again.

And if those colourful Easter egg decorations didn’t remind you of candy, they reminded Olivia of candy, Mommy, can we play Mikail and my favourite game now? Out came Candy Land and a bit of heaven shone down on us: Sorrow to joy, one bit at a time.

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