February 25, 2022
What if Lent were less about giving something up and more about giving something over?
Our Lenten “fasts” can easily become one more thing to add to our to-do list, one more thing we are trying to make happen, one more way we are striving for control. What if we shifted our thinking toward how we might take a step closer to God by surrendering striving, giving over control?
I invite your reflection on this old Sufi story:
A little stream wanted to cross the desert. Each time it tried; it would be swallowed up in the hot desert sand. But one day a voice was heard reassuring the stream that it could cross the desert. When the stream inquired of the voice, it was told: “By hurtling in your own accustomed way you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over to your destination.”
The stream could cross the desert by allowing itself to be absorbed in the wind. But the stream objected to this idea. The stream wanted to maintain its individuality. If that were lost, how could the stream be itself?
“The wind,” said the voice, “takes up water, carries it over the desert, and then lets it fall as rain, the water again becoming a river.”
So the stream raised its vapor into the welcoming arms of the wind, which bore it along gently and easily, letting it fall in the mountains miles away.