Presents of Presence

Today being the first Sunday in Lent, Father David opened his sermon by wondering why the season of Lent is not as anticipated as say, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, or even Advent. “We don’t look forward to singing Lent songs,” he said. “Perhaps it’s the lack of presents…..”

My twisted mind heard “presents” and interpreted “presence.” Now, perhaps that is because this time of year is…..difficult. My only child died of cancer nearly three years ago at the end of Lent, and I find the appointed readings during this season will trigger episodes of acute grief piled on top of that chronic-always-present sadness.

During the worst times it has been hard to maintain my faith, and I often slog through boggy depths: If there is a loving God, why did he let my beautiful son die? Anyone’s beautiful child? I seek His “presence” during those times, and I confess I often fail to find it.

And yet…..I continue to hope. To hope that God is there. That Steve and all those that have ever been mourned are there with him. That he will be there waiting for me. And you.

The communion hymn today was an apt expression of my feelings: “Just as I am, though tossed about, with many a conflict, many a doubt: Fightings and fears within, without. O lamb of God, I come….”

And at the end of the service, I laughed to recall a seasonal song by the Edlos that I do look forward to singing: “Gimme Some PresENCE!”