A New Year Mantra for Lent

Three months removed from the start of the year, and embarking on the first week of Lent, it seems fitting to revisit our new year mantra (with a twist into first person):

Seek to bring out the good in those around me,
and I will find the best in myself.

How does this look manifested in our real and very daily lives?

Sometimes it is what we don’t do that creates change.  Seeking to bring out the good in others might best come by way of self-restraint.  Practicing silence, aside from many other benefits, can allow those around us to blossom.

These next weeks as we move toward Spring, let’s be patient, dig into the last of Winter, and embrace a kind of dormancy of speech.  May we be delighted by what we find growing all around us come Eastertime.

We Stop Beneath the Buckeye Tree

The seed pod dropped on the sidewalk and split.
I see the ruddy shine through a slit
in the spiked orb and wonder at its depth
of color, the certain slant of light spent
on its creation and its becoming.

I hold the sharp husk gingerly between
my fingers and thumb and wonder at the satisfaction
in prying apart the halves, the silken rip at the pith.  Notions
of Autumn’s approach, the colored leaves, the drying bits
of grass and flower are upon me.  The death and dormancy that fit

beneath the harvest ground conceal a greater thing:
Latent energy bursting into fullness, our God blossoming
into the son of man ripening into the fullness of his mystery.
I am tempted to hold fast the shells and face
the blank wall, keep myself hidden within the pointed case

and find my way to fullness turned inward.  Yet I strain
against the covering, press into the exterior a plain
and arching back.  I drop against the ground and split
to see a shining depth of light in which
death and birth work together.

Falling away from self I rise in Christ
loving and being loved in turn, this daily practice
our cross and joy.  We tear away the ruined husk
and reveal a softer fruit, one that trusts
in a fertile ground, this nature in the city, this spirit in the flesh,

this cyclical forgiveness.