Lilt: Stepping Gently toward Easter via Lent
“Lilt” in Lent? Well yes, the word’s synonyms suggest faith on the upswing: spirited, buoyant, springy.
How on earth can I consider those words next to these concerns from the friend of my friend? She’s scared sleepless over her cousins in Ukraine, young mothers whose husbands must enlist. Do they need money? How can she send it? How will grandparents and nieces and nephews safely escape with banks closed, airports occupied, gas stations emptied?
How can I allow weightiness once again to enlarge my heart, carve room for deepening mercy? Those wiser than I claim prayers of lament will, in time, bring transfiguration: glint by glimmer, a luminous trail, the sparks flying upward.
But what in heaven’s name can “lilt” mean in relation to war? I am fed, sheltered, privileged. I am safe. For now.
When the heart is wracked, how do we navigate dissonance?
Faith, we know, watches for holy rescues. Keeps vigils. Fasts and prays. Celebrates God’s provisions, seen and unseen.
This Lent especially calls me to lament and repentance. Can this also invite me toward heart-lightening remembrance?
Here’s what I say to my soul:
- Spend time on those knees—in between time spent listening, at His.
- Offer up small surrenders in sober reverence and quiet joy.
- Engage more deeply with the reality of the Passion so as to embody compassion.
- Grab the children and tell them the truest stories—that we are made for God. That we are called toward binding up wounds as well as abounding in grace. Help them understand this:
Dear Lent, you are ashes and daffodils,
fasting and feasting,
foot washing and footloose, resurrection-bound praise cutting a rug.
Here is my Lenten List (I hope you’ll add to it):
- Write yourself a note. Tuck it inside your fridge, silverware drawer, medicine cabinet—wherever you’ll come upon it: Hello there, you agent of whimsy. What will you and Perfect Love do next?
- Peel a tangerine. Pray over a different country as you savor each segment. Lick your fingers to say Amen.
- Talk things over with a local bird, or use this captivating video close-up of a mourning dove: And may the dove who descended upon Christ at the Jordan alight near you and those you love today.
- Make a lap. Now remember the lap of someone who held you. Let your Bible fall open, right there on your knees. Read out a fitting word, phrase, or verse(s) in blessing. Then improvise, perhaps sensing you and your someone welcomed anew into God’s embrace.
- Do you collect quotes? If not, you could start here: “During the night everything has been remade for you. Merely to breathe is a happy adventure.” —J. B. Priestly, Delight
- When rampant darkness between people overwhelms you, browse Photo Ark Wonders, by the “Modern-day Noah,” Joel Sartore, for National Geographic.
I consider “lilt” a relative term. This morning I hobbled around waving a long scarf over my head, like one of those small but undaunted gymnasts armed with banners. In Christ, my soul is a secret Olympian.
Bet yours is too.
What would you add to the list?
P.S. Invite scent to trigger memory. Before making your bed, mist your pillowcase with a scent you enjoy (or tuck a dryer sheet inside it). Anticipate Spirit-led time travel when you tuck yourself in tonight. Then again, the fact of shelter, the bed, and a warm room is already grace, and more than enough.
You might also enjoy Kyrie Eleison: Seeking Mercy