When my eldest niece was a wee lass, she didn’t want to eat the fruit her mom cut for her. My sister-in-law was getting exasperated at the shrinking list of food the young miss would eat. But Auntie Mary had some skills. I asked my niece if she knew that there was a star hiding in the apple in my hand. She took the apple from me and turned it over and around in her tiny hands. She looked at the blossom end and she twisted the stem. I assured her that it was there, tucked inside to keep it safe. She looked at me with all the doubt her not-quite-three year old face could muster. I said “That’s OK, you don’t have to see the star. I’ll take this to work with me tomorrow and have the star all to myself.”
Well, that was more than a toddle could take! She wanted to see the star. And would I please, please show her the star? I said that I could show her, but we’d have to cut the apple, and if we cut it, we’d have to eat it. She swore to me that she’d eat it. So I cut the apple in half, horizontally, to show her the star. And in that moment of charm when I separated the two halves to reveal the star, she giggled that exquisite joyful giggle that charms you right back.
And true to her word, she ate the apple.
Friends, we’ve reached the middle of Lent. Knowing that slightly less time between now and Easter than there was between Ash Wednesday an now always makes me feel like I need to pick up the pace a bit. Because if this whole thing is an exercise in spring cleaning my soul, then am I really half done the effort? Am I half as awful as I was 3 and a bit weeks ago? Am I now fortified with 50% more gratitude? Those things aren’t always as quantifiable as one would like. I mean, this isn’t math, right? Maybe *less* awful and *more* grateful indicate progress well enough.
But maybe, when I separate the two halves of Lent, I’ll find the possibility of something unexpected, like a star in an apple. And as I look back to see the progress I’ve made, and look forward to the progress yet to come, and I’ll feel the exquisite joy and possibility of what I didn’t know was there the whole time.
I’ve created landing pages for the last 3 years of Lent Project. You can access them from the Reflections Projects option in the menu bar. Happy reading, friends!