It seems too coincidental that Lent occurs when everyone is so anxious for spring. When the snow and the cold have almost become unbearable, when we all long for the warmth of the sun, less wind, less snow, less fighting the elements. During this time of deprivation, when we are feeling our lowest and our sense of joy in the everyday is minimal, long repressed issues come to the surface to show their surprising presence, sometimes terrifying in their magnitude. Memories arise, past doubts, childhood traumas, old regrets. During this time we are tempted again and again to forget who we are, children of light, and begin to think of ourselves as victims of our circumstance. During these months, simply getting out of bed can prove to be a major accomplishment. If we manage to struggle through work, then we deserve even bigger applause. I used to judge people who fled the winter to spend time in the sun somewhere, but now I see that perhaps it’s a need to remind ourselves that we are more than what we experience in these harsh months before the earth is awakened once more to its full potential. Perhaps the sun is a reminder to us that we are loved and that the earth loves us, a reciprocal relationship that winter often leads us to forget.
However, as much as winter can seem to be endless, when you live in the sun and warmth all year long, you don’t have the opportunity to battle annually with these demons. As much as it fatigues us, the opportunity is a gift, a chance to look deeper, a real Lenten experience. This year especially with its harshness and its unforgiving winds, is especially bleak. This year for the first time I felt a need to travel to some warmer climate, but though I felt that I didn’t succumb because I know this is temporary. And I beleive when it does warm, as it is starting to do here in Toronto the last few days, it will truly be glorious. I’ve always loved Toronto in the spring when people seem to come out of hibernation and celebrate the street. Festivals emerge, street parties, and those bursts of colours from the roses, apple blossoms, cherry blossoms and more, tell us once again that there is much to celebrate and that resurrection is imbedded in the cycle of life.