I didn’t intentionally give up anything for Lent this year. I am an Enneagram 7, so I typically do Lent differently. This year, I decided to commit myself to taking something up. I decided to do a deeper reflection on wisdom teachings as I seek to discover further the interrelatedness … the integration … of some of my favorite wisdom teachers. Among them are Ken Wilbur, Fr. Richard Rohr, Ilia Delio, and Brené Brown.

Just as I began to take up this task for Lent, Lent began to take things away from me. We have lost members of our faith community who were dear to me, and then there are those who are in hospice care … and one dear friend who is going into hospice care. The grief is palpable for me.

Then amidst this grief, we lost our precious cat, Baxter, who, at the age of 18, finally came to the end of his life’s journey. He slept with us on what we nicknamed Pride Rock because Baxter and his late brother, DC, had claimed it as the locus of their daily living … and sleeping. The emptiness his death created is still breathtaking.

Grief is not new to us, but there is an added layer here.

I am now left experiencing this odd convergence of wisdom and grief that have come into my Lenten journey in a mysterious middle. The ultimate impact of this on my life and ministry are yet to be seen, but here are the things I am learning and relearning:

  1. Wisdom is a gift that only comes from loving well and suffering well, and the capacity to hold both of those in tension together is hard work. It is the work of the cross.
  2. Patience is key. Henri Nouwen reminds us that the word “patience” comes from the Latin word “patior,” which means to suffer. It is to be alright with not knowing where this leads, but trusting in the journey nonetheless.
  3. Wisdom isn’t about knowing more … it is about knowing less and trusting more. It is, as I have preached recently, the path of unknowing.
  4. Grief is not a process that we go through with a checklist nor is it done on a timeline. It just is.
  5. When I am willing to sit at the crossroads of wisdom and grief, I will discover the deep mystery of the cross.
  6. When I am willing to sit at the crossroad of wisdom and grief, I will discover the wisdom pattern of life, death, and resurrection.

As an Enneagram 7, I am terrified of emptiness and will often do anything to fill the void. I don’t always do this well, but I am learning to sit still and simply be in the liminal space where I might just meet God in a deeper way than I ever thought possible.

My hope here is that Jesus is right. Those who are empty will be filled. I am waiting for the fullness of that Christ!

2 thoughts on “Emptiness

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