“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
I’m starting to look at the yard at May House. The squirrels have done a good job on it, burying the acorns and then digging them up. I’m always amazed they can find them. I suppose it’s a survival issue for them – and it’s just an annoyance issue for me. Given that they can’t lose sight of what they have set aside, it’s not surprising that they manage to find them again.
The squirrels know they have to put what they need to prosper into a time of quiet and hiding. Doing that lets them keep going when there’s little else to sustain them. I wonder if the world could recognize our work in the Lenten season to be something similar. Perhaps we’re the food being hidden away on the world’s behalf so that the world can keep going when there is nothing else to sustain it.
Lent is that time when we fall to the ground, when we enter into the quiet sleep of late winter in preparation for the bursting forth of new life in springtime. We aren’t doing that just to keep ourselves alive, but so those around us, who depend on us, can trust that we will be there for them. It reminds me of the safety drill on an airplane. “Put your oxygen mask on first, then you’ll be able to help those who need help”.
Take Lent seriously this year. Take on the focus and the discipline, the quietness and the austerity, so that you too can be ready to bear life when the world needs us to do that. You are a blessing to the world when you can care for others because you have cared for yourself.