The last couple weeks leading up to Lent, my children were bemoaning the Lenten possibility of eating only rice and beans for dinner (as we did last year). While I am really glad we did that practice last year, it didn't seem to fit where we all are this year. Giving up coffee, chocolate or wine are never very realistic options for me for obvious reasons, but on the whole, I'm just not inclined towards the "lack" this year. We all seem to be needing something more....
I'm grateful to Joel for the inspiration to practice a daily family prayer walk during this season of Lent. When he first brought up the idea, it clicked with everyone immediately. The intention behind it all being that we, all five of us, rain or shine, will take a walk and pray intentionally for our neighborhood, or whatever else is stirred in us as we ambulate through our community. It will give us time together, a healthy practice and continue the ever challenging charge to be OUT in our neighborhood, an all too easy bidding from which to back away when gun shots and sirens are our common caterwauls.
Today we set out on our first Lenten Walk and we went to the landscape that is both near and dear to us: Cheasty Greenspace. As we walked on our beloved trails, we thanked God for the countless volunteers who have given of their time and energy to create this much needed safe access to Nature for our community. We gave thanks for a supportive Parks Department and staff members who have become friends through this long and arduous process. And we prayed for the process that would lead towards the dream to see this greenspace in its entirety restored, reclaimed and reimagined for the greater good of our neighborhood.
On our way home, as my tummy tumbled and turned with the tensions that have arisen out of this greater work, we came upon this tree. Given that today is Valentine's Day, and provided I was praying for softened hearts, I couldn't help but accept this tree's message as a gift from God.