Pathways through Lent

We Give Back to You, O God, Those Whom You Gave to Us

Psalm 72 Genesis 42:18–28 1 Corinthians 5:9–6:8 Mark 4:1–20

I enter the season of Lent with a hole in my heart. A dear friend died recently, and I am still crying and feeling despair without warning. I hear that “she is with God and out of pain at last,” but somehow that is not good enough.

She was a sparkling light and so generous with her artistic talent. She was an excellent listener but opened up when it helped others. Her courage was a model for those around her to witness. She loved God and accepted His guidance, even in her death.

I cherish a 1970 picture of her jumping in the air in her long bridesmaid’s dress after standing by me in an ancient English chapel for my (first) wedding. It encapsulates so much of our shared experience: being there for each other in good and bad, and staying open to the joy of whimsy. Memories flood back to me, from college dorm antics to our tiny Georgetown apartment to an adventure-packed summer in Europe to those precious last visits.

But bad things do happen. Like death. I am old enough to know that the melancholy about this loss will end. Also I believe that it is OK to feel this sadness as a true emotion and not try to hold it back.

But I find that I now need to be very deliberate in getting back to normal life, to a sense of gratitude, to acceptance of God’s will for me. Yet again I need to recognize that I have no control over so much of life. Sounds like God has given me a task for Lent, and I embrace it.

–Kristie Hansen

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