* Before diving into today’s reflection, can I please just say a huge, I’d-hug-you-if-I-could, deep-in-my-bones THANK YOU for the response I’ve already gotten to this year’s Lenten blog. I didn’t realize how much I have missed connecting in this way and I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to spend these weeks of exploration with each of you. =)
Since I have a feeling that the “journey” metaphor will quickly wear thin, I’m going to stay with it just a bit longer, at least here on Day 2. =)
I’ve been thinking about the types of journeys I’ve been on through life; some have been true physical experiences and others, actually the majority of the others, have been internal treks. As I sat a bit with the thought, it didn’t take long to find memories related to both types. And the one word that emerged from all that sitting and remembering was, “inventory”. Kind of an odd thing to think, don’t you think? So, let’s explore!
When my husband and I were first married, I soon learned he really liked to hike, or as he would be quick to say, he liked to hike in order to get to the end of the hike! I didn’t really understand what that meant, but if there was something so great to be found at the end of the hike, I wanted to know what it was! Around the same time, we visited Yosemite and I entered, for the first time, the world of hiking gear….
Did you know about this?! It was like stepping into a whole new shopping realm, and there were so many cool things! Sturdy, yet fashion-y boots, cozy wool socks, water bottles that do so much more than just hold water, super cute hats and sunglasses, special cooking pots, backpacks, special trail snacks and lots of things I had no idea about. (“Hey, Tom….do I need a carabiner clip?”)
Needless to say, after seeing all the cool stuff that hikers get to wear, carry and use, I was all in! Tom suggested we start slow (“No, you won’t be needing a carabiner clip…”) and that I should start by just wearing a backpack so I could get used to the feel of it. He mentioned something about using soup cans to simulate actual hiking gear, but how heavy can a can of soup be, anyway? =)
I was so hyped about this hiking thing, I couldn’t wait to get started, and on the next free Saturday, we set out early in the morning for a short walk about the neighborhood. My brand new, very cute navy blue backpack was fit properly, soup cans and all, and I remember thinking….is this it? Breezy! And it WAS fine….for a few blocks. Then the shifting began….and I started finding tiny little pressure points that made me abundantly aware I was carrying some weight on my back. As my breathing grew heavier and my pace slowed, (apparently, carrying soup cans in a backpack can take some work after all), I was getting my first lesson in the realities of hiking. I had a great backpack, was being shown the ropes by an experienced hiker, and had just discovered the world of cool camping gear, but none of that mattered as I looked at Tom and had to admit I was ready to turn around and head home where I could finally drop this burden of a backpack full of boulders that suddenly didn’t make hiking seem fun and fashion-y at all…
All the cool hiking gear in Yosemite couldn’t have taught me what I learned that day – that it takes more than the idea of hiking and the correct things to make the journey a success. It takes inventory of a whole different type – an inner preparedness that results in determination, practice, willingness to try and also willingness to fail – all things I couldn’t pick up from a hiking supply shop.
While I’ve managed to accomplish a handful of modest goals of the physical journey type since then, I’ve had many, many more long walks of the inner type, and this word….inventory.…seems to be related to both somehow.
So, let’s pause a moment and consider what we may want to jot down on our inner packing list for the journey through this season of Lent. As I consider this for myself, I am struck with the thought that there is far, far less I need to bring with me than what I should probably lay down and leave behind….things like expectations, negative thoughts and beliefs, judgements (of self and others), fear of what may be required, and let go of some of the sorrow that has already known God’s healing touch.
As for what to bring…..I think the most important piece of inventory on Day 2 is simply the decision to keep showing up and trusting in the One who leads the way. For some of us, it may be the only thing we can manage to carry, and I want you to hear this in the deepest place you can…..it’s more than enough. <3
I’m not sure what the trip will look like, but I’m so, so ready to take the next step.
We can do this….together.
So much love,