Leaning Into Lent: Unexpected Growth

Five Lenten seasons ago, I took on the task of trying to free a butterfly bush in our yard from the entanglement of a prickly weed that was strangling its growth and stealing all its nutrients. Turns out that I wasn’t actually freeing a butterfly bush but a Bradford Pear tree that had been struck by lightning years ago. It has taken five years, but here is a picture of white flowers on this resurrected tree!! Last year we got some greenery, but we have never seen white flowers before.

I think about the work and the cuts and the blood that was shed in trying to free what I thought was something else. For me, this is Lent. Looking closely at what is threatening and strangling our growth and a deeper relationship with the Divine. You might think that in this process you are freeing something and find that there is something completely different that blooms and grows from that clearing out.

I can’t think of a better analogy for our present circumstances. Everything has been cleared out. The going out and the moving from place to place, event to event has suspended. And now during this Lenten season is the time to ask ourselves whether these things and events that took up our time and attention were strangling us and stealing our nutrients.

Maybe, just maybe, in this midst of this slowly down we are able to breathe like this Bradford Pear and find new life.