(The dogwood this fall, 2011.)

The calendar has turned; it is Shrove Tuesday. Lent begins tomorrow. The dogwood stands bare over the sandbox, the overturned dump trucks mingling with the burnished, mottled, red leaves of the Dogwood, fragile, broken things that turn to dust as you touch them, and the wind lifts them away.

From dust we have come. To dust we will return.

Tomorrow, I will fast. It will be the first Lenten season in which I will not be pregnant or nursing, and that has an ache all its own. The fullness of life is not within me. It is an emptying out, this season. A pouring out. Tomorrow, I will be marked with the ashes, the sign of sorrow. And in this season, I feel the depth of it. I went my own way, against His will. I know now that I can do nothing apart from Him. I realize I have so much to learn. I can’t be the shuffling dancer, off time, off cue, wandering. I need to follow His steps. Watch closely. Listen carefully to the arterial song he placed within this dust-formed chest of mine.

But on this feast day, I feel the joy and peace. We’ll celebrate tonight with the fellowship of believers. There will be laughter, and way, way too much rich and sweet things to enjoy. For the first time, I come to Lent not with fear, but with anticipation. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. The dogwood is shivering in the wind today, the austerity of winter; but come Easter, the bloom will be on the tree. White tipped red. A sign of joy. I will lay down under her branches. Remember the dust. Only then comes life and resurrection. The seed must be laid in the soil. The Lord is a faithful and tender Gardener. In Him I put my trust.

(I’m feeling the need for quiet. Tomorrow, I’ll be pulling back from all social media and this blog here, except for on Fridays (and maybe not even then). Maybe this be a fertile period of growth and change. Blessings to you, dear friends! May the Lord be with you!)

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