Wednesday Word: Left Behind

Left Behind

I went for a rather long-ish walk this past weekend while the girls were visiting D.C. As is normally the case when walking alone, my mind drifted over and around several things before settling in on one.

One of the questions I have been asked on a regular basis is, “What's different between here and Oregon?” What's different has such a wide variety that I really never know where to begin. The weather, for the most part, has been similar. The people are both the same and different. The time zone has been an adjustment. And a plethora of other items makes answering that question difficult.


Blackberries popped into my head on that walk. While I was looking around and taking in the scenery, noticing the rolling hills of the area, trees that were beginning to bud, trees that still had some time to go before budding, and what could pass for empty cornfields, I noticed there were no blackberry bushes. Blackberry bushes were abundant where I lived in Oregon. They grew on the side of the road. They grew alongside the creek I crossed. They grew all along the school playground where I ran to prepare for the football season.

I miss those blackberry bushes that grew everywhere along the roads and paths. I miss being able to stop on my walk and pick a handful, or more, of big, ripe, blackberries. They were a special treat on a summer walk. I miss those blackberries that I've left behind in my move east.

It occurred to me, though, that if I focused on those blackberries I might very well miss the treasures that this area holds. If I dwelt on what I had left behind, I would never make the transition to where I need to be. If I continually focused on what I couldn't have, then I would never accept the home that was being presented to me.

And that, in a nutshell, is Lent.

Lent is the traditional time Christians give something up as a matter of discipline. Have you noticed, though, that people often focus on what they have given up? It's Lent, I can't have chocolate. It's Lent, I'm not allowed to watch TV. It's Lent, I can't do whatever. If I only focus on the blackberries I can't have, my whole existence in Maryland will be Lent and I will never see the beauty of where the Spirit has called me.

Lent isn't about dwelling on what you have given up, or on what you have left behind; Lent is about learning to make a transition to where God is calling us. Lent isn't about focusing on what you can't have, but on being willing to accept the home that is being presented to you.

It's Lent. Leave the blackberries behind and learn to see the beauty of where the Spirit is calling you.



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