Make sure you watch the video before you read on. This was the object of our Theological Reflection in EFM last night.
Many things struck me about this video, but the big thing was all the "curvy roads," especially the one at the end. The last frames show a curving road through a rocky, barren desert, with a road sign showing curves ahead and a 20 mph speed limit.
This is going to sound strange, but to me, Advent seems "linear" and Lent seems "curvy." Maybe it is because the act of examining ourselves to prepare for a resurrection takes us down a lot of side streets, uncovers a lot of debris, and reveals rough spots in our finish in a different way, because the outcome of "resurrection" is less well defined. At the end of Advent, we're going to welcome a baby--and most folks are captivated by babies. We don't always know what lies ahead in resurrection, and resurrection can be a tad fearful.
Think about the stories in the Gospels of the resurrection of Jesus. He appears first to the "cultural nobodies of the day"--women. Thomas can't really buy it until he reaches in Christ's wounded side. Everyone has to look at the nail holes. Even then, they are not sure what they have--everyone's going, "What does this mean?" (Although I have this visual image of St. Peter, looking at the rest of the disciples, going, "See! I TOLD you he was the Christ and you all gave me funny looks! DUH!")
At Lent, we aren't even able to ask "What does this mean?" We're asking "What's this GONNA mean? What's the price I have to pay for this? I am not even sure what lies ahead."
But back to that final image in the video.
We see barren-ness...yet we see a road leading through it. We see blind curves ahead, yet we sense the road goes through it. In a place where our temptation would be to speed through it, putting it behind us as quickly as possible, the sign says, "Go slowly." To travel quickly, in fact, invites danger on those blind curves--we'd run the risk of smacking head on into another person on a similar journey--a journey to the place we know already and left behind us. What we leave behind could well be what someone else is looking FOR.
But, if we heed the speed limit, we might take the time to look around and see that shiny raw gemstone glinting among the barren rock, a flower blooming in the desert, a map that leads us to hidden treasure. Things to see, time to do it. Go slowly.