The Lenten Journey
Peggy and I were ten and six years old – our very best friends lived two houses down and they were devout Catholics. We were Brethren and Lent wasn’t even addressed by our church. Easter was, but not Lent.
I remember the day they came home from Mass, all nine of them, with an ashen cross on their forehead – sister and I were green with envy. We wanted that mark too! Perhaps we took crayon and tried but I don’t really remember.
The one thing I do remember, actually, I will never forget…
All the kids had a school holiday and our usual was to go to one another’s house and ask the age-old question, “Can you come out to play?” All of us were playing in the backyard – when Mrs. O opened the door and called her children up to the house. It was almost noon and it was time to “go dark.”
Three hours on a Friday
You see, on Good Friday our friends observed the three hours Jesus died on the cross by being quiet. No talking allowed. Peggy and I decided to stay with them, got permission from our mom two doors down, and we all took our swing.
Three hours – no words. It was a typical New Jersey spring day – overcast, cool, and damp. We sat there. We looked at one another but no one ever said a word. Then at three o’clock Mrs. O called us all in for sandwiches and milk.
Now, as an adult, I look back with great respect and admiration for their convictions. An outward display of an inward faith.
It was beautiful. Holy.
Lent 2019. Take the journey.
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Today’s yellow rose in the graphic is in honor of my mom, Terry Chamberlain. March 7, 1926 – October 27, 2012.