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SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

 
It’s one thing when events don’t turn out as we hoped they would. We have to deal with disappointment or a range of feelings from anger to despair. But it’s another thing entirely when the outcome of something we had been deeply concerned about and maybe became anxiously attached to, is just inconclusive. However many times you examine your options about what to do, you feel blocked. The bottom line is there is nothing to do - yet. We must simply wait and see.
 
In conversations in this kind of situation people start imagining all sorts of outcome but eventually you have to admit that none will work – yet. And over again you hear ‘we’ll just have to wait and see.’ You can try to get round it, but true, radical uncertainty can’t be argued with. It is like fate. There is no choice except to accept it for as long as it is what it is. There are few things more humbling than just having to wait and see, humbling and strangely liberating.
 
This is not the same as when people, who don’t like making decisions, postpone them indefinitely and consequently create unhappy inactivity. Indecisiveness makes everyone feel frustrated that we are wasting time. But trying to make a definite decision and then discovering that we simply can’t – yet anyway – leads us into a different zone of being.
 
I once checked in at an airport and the person I handed my ticket to suddenly looked very uncertain and disturbed. Then she saw why the computer wouldn’t respond and she said, ‘but sir this is for tomorrow’s flight’. Everything of a sudden began to unravel for me in a wonderful way. I felt very foolish then free. What should I do? Go home and come back tomorrow or…? I accepted her offer to change the flight to today and arrived in my destination deliciously uncertain what to do. I had a whole free day, no one to meet me, no talks to give, nowhere to stay.
 
So even when you are in the grip of uncertainty – as powerful a cosmic force as any – something always happens. When you have consciously embraced uncertainty and stopped  trying to solve it, what does happen – and something always does - has a wonderful freedom and inevitability about it. You glimpse liberty of spirit.
 
Jesus climbed to the summit of the holy mountain with his three close disciples and there in their sight he was physically transfigured. The disciples were uncertain how to respond and felt fear in the pure white light. But then a cloud covered them and the Father spoke. As uncertain, easily frightened human beings we wend our way every day between the light and the cloud.

Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2024
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