We’re just days away from Holy Week, which marks the end of Lent and the culmination of the long road to Easter Sunday, and members of Sacred Space continue to guide us in reflecting on the meaning of Lent as we prepare our hearts for resurrection. Here, Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology student Roseanne Pearson writes about the intentional, intricate connections she sees between her own growth and the growth of the people around her. In case you missed them, you can read the previous posts here.
It has been my experience that my personal seasons of Lent do not tend to line up with the Lent of the liturgical calendar. Like a good evangelical, I may have given up chocolate or Facebook, but my spiritual seasons of growth remained largely isolated, internal, and disconnected from the rhythms of church. This year has been an exception. Perhaps it is my own increased openness that has altered my experience of Lent, though I take more amusement in imagining that the Spirit is seeking to playfully affirm my involvement in an Episcopal church here in Seattle and has chosen to line up my seasons of growth accordingly.
As in every time of chaos, I sometimes despaired over these past couple of months that my struggles might be meaningless. However, as stability is establishing itself once again, I am amazed by the meaning of what I have learned during Lent. The specifics are highly intriguing, I assure you, but are perhaps better discussed over coffee with one or two people. For the purposes of this blog, I would like to share what I find to be even more astounding: the connectedness between my own growth and the growth of those whose lives overlap with mine.
Recently, I sat up late talking with a close friend. She has been with me on the night I came home after quitting my job, with me in the stress of money, with me to deny the lies I believed in fear, and with me so see the glory that came—both professionally and personally—from being willing to engage some very hard things. And I have been with her as well, tuned in to the themes and happenings of her life. The mutual support of this friendship is wonderful in its own right, but it has become even more meaningful in the season of Lent. In contrast with the isolated growth I have experienced in the past, my friend and I have lately been astounded to draw connections between the themes of our growth and the ways we have needed each other’s influence in that growth—like how I can find joy in providing wisdom and support in her recent job transition, just as she found joy in supporting me in my own similar situation.
This overlap of seasons of life and spiritual growth with my friend resonates with what I believe about how the Spirit works in the world—that there is intentionality and connectedness in the movements that the Spirit initiates on every level. From individual growth, to cultural shifts, to the trajectory of history, I hold to the belief that the Spirit is intentionally involved in the development of the world. This connectedness holds great meaning for me when facing my own areas of chaotic growth. If the Spirit sought to develop my friend and me in similar ways, I wonder what other connections exist on a greater level. I wonder how my own growth might be held within an organic movement of those who are attuned to the Spirit. I wonder, then, how I have spent so much time feeling isolated in my struggles.
I offer these thoughts to The Seattle School community hoping that you will wonder with me about the connections between your own seasons of Lent and the lives of those around you. May we wonder together about how the Spirit may be drawing us into growth. May we create safe relational spaces to explore how our seasons organically interconnect. And may we find a wealth of meaning in areas that have been despaired as meaningless.