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Lenten Devotion - day 6

I remember a picture you texted to me of your view while sitting in your backyard. I don’t recall exactly what you said, but I do remember your peace in that moment. It was enough peace in the simplicity of sitting and being that you shared it with me.

Thank you for sharing with me your moments of peace, as well as your moments of pain, temptation, worry, joy, and more. Thank you for being my friend and letting me share my life, and sharing your life with me. You’ve added to the wonder in my life by sharing with me your wonder.

If I wish I could convince people anything about Lent, I wish I could convince them Lent is about wonder. It is about seeing with eyes that focused on the magic all around us. It’s why you shared with me a moment of peace, because when we experience wonder we are at peace.

Peace often feels elusive, like something we can only experience in a moment of calm. But I believe it has more to do with wonder.

I remember when I was a teenager and backpacking through the Sierra Nevadas with my church youth group. A friend and I were together on the trail and we hiked above tree line, as it’s called at around 10,000 feet above sea level where trees stop growing. If you’ve seen it, you know it is something. The trees just stop.

We hiked above the trees and soon found ourselves looking down on them, on a bare mountain as if we were on top of the world. Even at all of 16 years old it arrested our attention. We stopped and stared. I remember the wonder I felt, and the wonder I could feel him feeling. For the life of me I don’t remember what we talked about, or even if we talked. But we communicated. We still talk about that moment when we are together (although it is rare that we are ever together).

We experienced wonder in that moment. I learned later that I could experience it anywhere on the trail. My father was on one such trip. He got into camp hours after I arrived. Being a teenager, I was full of machismo and egotistical joy at how quickly I had hiked that day. So much so that when my father arrived, I mocked him for taking so long.

He told me he could have been there earlier, but then he would have missed so much. Then he told me about the meadow he stopped and watched. He told me about a waterfall that he noticed and went to, and how he put his feet in the pool at the bottom of the fall. He told me more too, but I hadn’t noticed any of it. I was just hiking along with a destination in mind, and I didn’t notice the magic all around me. I learned a lesson I won’t forget from my father that day.

Sometimes wonder smacks me over the head, as if waking me from sleepwalking. Sometimes I wake up, and remember that life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Maybe that is why we celebrate Lent over and over, to never forget it is a journey we are on.

You’ve experienced that wonder like a smack in the head, and it gave you peace. However, everything is worth our wonder. Every moment is pregnant with wonder, waiting to birth when we pay attention. Even the terrible things have wonder in them, if we are awake.

Buddha means “awakened,” or, “to become aware.” Rumi wrote, “Those who don’t want to change, let them sleep.” Jesus said, “Pay attention to the wild flowers in the field.” We’ve experienced being hit over the head. We don’t want to sleep, we want to change, we want to awaken. The only way to truly awaken is to pay attention, even to the wild flowers in the field.

Lent is about awakening, and then being lost in wonder, and being at peace as we journey through life. I don’t have a daily devotion to offer you, I have these letters. And in this letter, I want you to do me a favor. Stop whatever you’re doing and pay attention. Pay attention to your spouse, your children, your work, your home, your pain, your worry, your joy, your plants (every leaf, every petal, every branch, every root), the animals (every cat that comes through your yard, every bird, every insect, every worm… the wings, the movements, the songs) that make a home on your property, the breeze, the sky, the soil, the food in the kitchen, the feel of the carpet on your feet, the lighting, the sounds (there are so many) the steps you take, and the breathing you rarely notice you’re always doing. Pay attention to it all. For 5 minutes. Then tell me if you don’t feel wonder and peace. Tell me if you don’t know God a bit more.

Until tomorrow my friend,