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It may be that when we no longer know which way to go, we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed.  The impeded stream is the one that sings.” 

-Wendell Berry-

Although it is mid-morning, the sky has turned dark as dusk; the rain has blown in with torrents of heavy drops slapping against the windowpane in waves, the trees bending with the gusts.  Runoff gushes out the downspouts from the roofline of the hundred year old building across from mine, forming rivers across the sidewalks where rainwater splashes from under the footfall of boot-clad students hurrying inside to dry classrooms.

Spring marches in early. Her warmer air mixing with the lingering remnants of cooler winter temperatures have produced drenching deluge from the heavens.  The spring rain usually buoys my spirit, glad for its signal of renewal for the awakening, thirsty earth.  But instead of feeling refreshed, the storm envelops me with gray as if to punctuate the wandering of my Lenten wilderness.

In the past weeks, unexpected sorrows appeared: the death of my father-in-law following a brief time of illness; oncology reports with devastating news about some friends’ only son; a visit with a life-long friend, whose heart aches over broken relationship, her wounds so deep that healing appears to be only a foolhardy wish.

My loved ones are enduring suffering and grief and it seems my care for them is insignificant to make much difference. A river of bewilderment rises and I grasp for solid ground, feeling that I do not know which way to go.  My mind is baffled.

Perhaps, these events have brought me to my real Lenten journey. I search for holy presence.

…and there in the cadence of the splattering raindrops, I hear the melodic notes, clear and true, a divine love song arranged in the streaming rain.

Just as Christ did not walk His desert wilderness alone, sustaining Eternal love was also there …

when words of regret and reassurance spoken quietly at a deathbed created a sacred sanctuary filled with mercy and grace and redemption.

…when access to medical expertise surprisingly appeared from an acquaintance, renewed hope flowed over the circumstances to fortify despairing parents.

when heart-breaking fears of the unknown shared with loving honesty revealed the enduring strength of friendship, enough to bear what comes in the days ahead.

Holy Presence, indeed.

Thunder rumbles softly in the distance. A student dashes past the window, hiding beneath a bright yellow umbrella, the momentary likeness of sunshine in the morning storm.