The season of Lent is upon us. This is a time when we reevaluate our relationship with God and recognize Jesus' suffering for our sins.
It is a time of year when we "give things up." It starts out nobly but often is short-lived. We realize how human we are. It is also a time when the days get brighter and we have daylight for longer periods. It is both a season of repentance and a season of hope. Like many times in our lives it is a period of contrasts.
If you have experienced one of the retreats offered in Juneau you know about the mountaintop experience. When you have had time to be away from the rigors of daily life and have had time to look at life and nature around you, there can be a realization of how much we miss in our daily busy routines.
Like Lent itself, we vow to come back refreshed and to change our priorities, but daily life and routine are hard to change. Like death and resurrection we experience ultimate sorrow and ultimate joy. Maybe we cannot have one without the other. Possibly that is why there are seasons in the first place.
Where does this Lenten season find you? If you find yourself in a difficult time, live in the hope that things will get better. If you find yourself in a good place, take joy in where you are but remember you cannot remain there, it is only a season in our lives. Find a retreat and experience it, often lives are changed; mine has been. Keep yourself focused on what is important in life and "give up" the right things.
Instead of giving up chocolate, give up some of your valuable time this season. Consider volunteering your energy or talent at one of the many organizations in Juneau that desperately need your help. There are so many organizations in need of help, your help.
Maybe what we need to give time to this season are our families. Sometimes what is right before us is the need that we seem to miss. Our families experience seasons as well.
There are times we are in a good place and times when our relationships are not as good. There are seasons when we are all together and there are seasons when we are scattered. There are times when we need each other and times when we really need each other. When we run out of chocolate it can be replaced. When time runs out for us or a loved one we never get it back. If we haven't said I love you today it might never get said.
Soon the days will be longer and brighter and our season will change again. Experience tells us that these seasons will always come and go; they always have. Experience also tells us that life comes and goes as well.
Whether you are in a good time or a challenging one they are both gifts in ways. It is helpful to understand they are all seasons and life is made up of many of them. How many of them we do not know so give up what you choose but make sure it is the right choice.
Bob Stevens is pastor of St. Brendan's Episcopal Church.