Happy Lunar New Year, friends!
The mythology behind Lunar new year is that there was a monster (the Nian – kind of like a dragon/Qilin/Kirin hybrid) who lived at the bottom of the sea, and once a year, it would rise from the depths to eat whatever was in it’s path. During this time, villagers would escape to hide in the mountains. A beggar arrived to the village while everyone was leaving. One woman took in the beggar, and the beggar promised that he would chase away the Nian.
The beggar hung red paper on the homes in the village, and set off fireworks to scare the Nian away. The villagers returned and learned that loud noises and the red paper on their doors had repelled the monster. This evolved into the dance of the Chinese dragon, the fireworks and the red lanterns and decorations that accompany the Lunar New Year.
I know. It’s a long way from Lunar New Year to the Western celebration of Carnival (or Easter), right?
The metaphorical Nian shows up in all our lives. What do I run away from because I’m afraid? What can I not face because it my consume me? Depression? Anxiety? For some of us, sure. Tough conversations? Difficult relationships? You betcha. Everyone has a monster that lurks in the shadowy edges of our lives. Sometimes closer.
But here’s the thing. We also all have someone like the Beggar who is willing to help you conquer your personal monster. Sometimes we’re just too busy trying to get outta Dodge to avoid facing the monster to see that someone is there to help.
This Lent, when things seem particularly crunchy, look for the person who will stay behind with you and help. This Lent, BE that person for others whenever you can.
I’ve created landing pages for the last 2 years of Lent Project. You can access them from the Reflections Projects option in the menu bar. Happy reading, friends!