By Corinne Wnek
What a tease! Just when we finished polishing off that nice box of Valentine candy someone gave to us last week, we’re suddenly thrust into a long period of bittersweet deprivation and high drama. Now in case you didn’t give someone that box of candy, you may have already experienced some high drama. But I’m talking about the kind of drama and mystery that is Lent and is marked by Christians of all denominations. This is theater at its best. Mysterious characters, great plot and a dramatic ending!
Lent represents the classic human drama between good and evil. The leading man is simply divine with impeccable credentials and he is always in touch with his sensitive side. The antagonist exudes deadly charm and appeals to audiences everywhere. Finally, there is a cast of thousands from all over the world and for whom final destinations are still to be decided. It is both real time and futuristic.
Like many great productions, Lent leads us to a grand finale, Easter. This mystery alone raises many questions as we try to understand a drama whose incredible outcome seems to violate every physical law known to man. And isn’t that one sign of good theater? Wanting to know more than we’re actually told?
It is customary to think of Lent as the ‘sad season’ following the revelry of Mardi Gras. It is traditionally a time for reflection about one’s life and of abstaining from something we love. Lent is about personal sacrifice that will lead to something better later on. Psychologists call this ‘delayed gratification’. That’s why faith is both a test and a mystery. That’s also why great hope helps us to believe that the struggle will be worth it in the end. The mystery is how we are able to believe that, smart humans that we are.
Some of us try to approach Lent from a different point of view. Maybe this is an ideal time to do some kindness for that annoying neighbor or to resolve to tolerate the office nudges with a little more compassion. This style of observing Lent works well for someone like me who might lack the willpower that is necessary to resist something such as those delicious, pastel colored Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs.
But Lent really offers life lessons for everyone, not just Christians. We remember during this time that nothing is free. We have to give something to get something. And learning to trust in a power higher, however we choose to name that power, will not go unpaid. We know that faith has a way of moving us forward in life while a lack of it will hold us back.
Still, who can resist those Cadbury Easter eggs?
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