I’m taking classes in Albany, which means I take I-90 twice a week. If you’ve driven on the highway recently, you will notice a sign that says:
I didn’t think much of it at first. It did remind me of The Last of the Mohicans:
But the more I saw it, the more I thought about it. This is like Lent: Stay awake, stay alive.
I haven’t been very motivated this Lent. I think I might be a Lenten fail. Sure, I’m going to Mass, abstaining on Fridays and I even went to a Penance Service. But life has been busy and chaotic, as I’m sure you probably relate. Life is on a day-to-day basis, getting things done. Check. Most of my prayers have had a “Help me!” theme. I tried to give up worrying for Lent but gave up. Now I’m worrying about worrying. Not exactly what God had in mind, I think. So I ask myself: What is Lent supposed to be like for me this year? Cuz so far, this ain’t it.
The Jesuit in me thinks this sign might have something to do with it. Stay awake. Stay awake to God. All God wants is to be close to me, to all of us. God reaches out to us many times throughout the day, whether we notice or not. We are never absent from God, unless we turn away from God ourselves. I can’t seem to find the author, but I have a prayer I say often that goes, ” My beloved and generous God, I repent of all my sins of blindness to your daily thousand-and-one visits and all the countless gifts you send my way.” Stay awake to the hope, love and surprises God has in store. This can only be good. Pay attention (and I’m mainly talking to me but cool beans if it helps you too) to the blessedness in life. It’s there.
And it’s life-giving. Stay alive to it. I get caught up in the check lists and getting things done, but there is beauty in the lost moments. Even concentrating too much on the chatter in my head closes me off to the reality of God revealing Godself in the day. Stay alive to the possibility that God might show up. Whether I like it or not, God just may know better than I do. Life is not supposed to be a game we have already figured out on our own; it’s just meant to be played. Stay alive to the idea that God is ever present. It’s why Jesus came to live with us. He died so we could stay alive to what God has in store for us: life in abundance!
Or maybe I’m just not supposed to be falling asleep at the wheel. But I think I’m going with this instead. Dear Lord, Help me, and all of us, stay awake and alive to your presence with us as we walk our Lenten journeys. Amen