This season, this time, these days, this one wild and precious life.
So much is breaking. So much is rupturing. Sackcloth and ashes. Stardust to stardust.
I have been reading Luke’s gospel account this Lent. Over and over. It’s resonating, deeply. Invitations to collective repentance. Invitations to collective healing. The deep and unavoidable truth that healing and hope can only come after we reckon with the truths of loss, of wounds, of deep and urgent needs to repent, to turn, turn ‘till we come down right. I am haunted in holy ways by the fig tree. What can yet bear fruit, with care-full tending? What must be cut down, if we are to be faithful stewards of limited resources?
Every week, on Tuesday nights, I gather with students in my campus ministry context. We gather at table. We listen together. We share together. We laugh and cry together. We nourish each other, in body and in spirit. It is holy, and healing. Our gatherings at table bear fruit. And yet we are losing our United Methodist funding. We may not have even one year left. And I am (still) under complaint, formal denominational charge for queerness, and may not have even one year left.
This last Tuesday an alum from our community, now living in another state and training in Spiritual Direction, returned to lead us in a meditation on loss and life, and an art project of collective endings and beginnings. Rupturing. Breaking. Healing.
“Endings happen to us, but they aren’t us,” Jannalee said.
In seasons of endings, we yearn for beginnings. But if we do not tend to what is ending, if we do not face the losses and griefs that are rending our collective life, there is no space for something new to emerge. As long as we deny the forces of crucifixion, we cannot expect to participate in the mystery of resurrection. She invited us to sit with pain for longer than we are comfortable doing. “To receive this blessing, all you have to do is let your heart break.”
I invite you, too, to spend the rest of these forty days meditating on the questions Jannalee invited us to sit with:
Are there any endings you are in the midst of?
Are there any ways your heart needs to crack open?
What is weighing on your heart?
What is blocking your connection to the Divine?
Where do you need to invite healing?
We poured paint on a large, communal canvas. We named the losses we are mourning, the griefs we are bearing, the deaths we are honoring. We tilted the canvas, watching the colors swirl, collide. We added some glitter ash, from Ash Wednesday. We laughed. We cried. We ooohed and aaahed. We ate homemade brownies with paint-splattered hands. We spoke of life’s sharpness, and sweetness, too. We watched as geodes emerged. The cosmos, too. We come from stardust. And stardust we will become.
Our story, dear ones, shimmers with treasures known and those we have yet to find.
May it be so.