God’s Strong Presence

Lenten Reflection, Sunday, March 11, 2018

By: Kerri White

Unsurprisingly, I find that the more I lean in to faith, the more I find myself graced with God’s presence.

Lent does this to me every year.  It’s a combination of marinating in the gospel, feeling the need to hold back after the indulgences of the Christmas season, and the unrelenting darkness of winter that serve as constant reminders that this is not just the cycle of the church, but of my world. We need to lament the darkness so that we may delight in the light. We need to be overstuffed by the King Cake to appreciate the hunger. We must suffer the treadmill to delight in the swimsuit! Lent makes me keenly aware that we are not passing through a liturgical season, but living it. The metaphors of Lent and living seem to slap me in the face throughout the long, cold start of the year.

Gratefully, my husband and I don’t travel for business often. But, it just so happened that we would both find ourselves in the not-so-friendly skies on that recent Friday in which a Nor’easter grazed the coast. A reluctant flyer under the best of circumstances, I was already less than calm when the pilot came over the speaker and – before we even pulled away from the gate – announced that the winds in Richmond were “outside the limits of the aircraft.” He proceeded to inform us that we would head north and make an attempt at landing, but in all likelihood, we would suffer turbulent air, circle till our gas stores were depleted, and then reroute to Columbia.

I wanted to get off the plane. I seriously considered it.  But it had been three weeks since my husband had been home and four days since I had had my arms around the kids. I would have to suffer. I looked out the window of the plane and pondered how something as invisible as wind could be so very, very strong… God-like.

My husband’s text upon his arrival declared, “We came in sideways, backwards and maybe even upside down! That was fun!” My flight was steady, smooth and without incident until the end. We suffered just in the final descent and landed with a bang.  My strong, albeit invisible, God was with me all the while.  The suffering passed, and my family, my Easter joy, was claimed.