What does six weeks feel like? It depends. Six weeks of what?
Around the hospital, we sometimes hear measurements of six weeks.
- Six weeks to live.
- Six weeks until birth
- Six weeks of rehab.
Each of those has a different feeling. But each, I think, leads to a change in a way of living. Each leads to a kind of resolve.
- If we know we have 6 weeks until an amazing event, the birth of a baby, for example, we can endure the pain.
- If we know we only have six weeks with someone, we can focus on the conversations that matter.
- If we know we have six weeks of enduring rehab and then we will be returned to strength, we can do the hard work for the sake of the restoration.
But when there isn’t an anchor, time tends to blur. We lose track of the conversations, of the hope. We give up on the work because we don’t see an end to it. And the time slips past and we wonder, “What did I do for the last six weeks?”
Forty days, about six weeks, is a time of biblical significance. Two of those forty day times were in the texts for yesterday. Noah’s family on the ark, with the rain for forty days and forty nights. Jesus fasting in the wilderness for forty days.
All this conversation about six weeks, about forty days, comes up because we are in the season that the church calls Lent.
Six weeks from yesterday is Easter Sunday. It will be here before we know it. We will get to Palm Sunday and think, wow. We will get to Good Friday and think, “I wonder who has services”. We’ll get to Easter Sunday and say, “What were we planning to do?”
Unless we want to know it, to anticipate it, to prepare our hearts and minds and bodies for the celebration.That sense of preparation is what Lent accomplishes. It keeps us from being surprised.