As the rhythms of the calendar pass by this year, we are viewing them through the lens of being in a season of grieving. We are in the season of Lent, which focuses on prayer, fasting and a simpler life. It is a somber time leading up to Easter.

As we reflect on grief, let us see the parallels through Lent.

God takes the ashes of our grief, sadness, despair: the moments where things appear grim and hopeless, the feelings of aloneness, the river of tears, the pain that seems bottomless, the ache of longing that is unfulfilled.

God takes these ashes and invites us on a journey of hope. The path that is full of ashes becomes a journey of hope that leads to healing and wholeness. It is a journey of restoration and redemption.

On days when death feels overwhelming, God is summoning us toward life.

On days when the darkness seems to suffocate, God is piercing it with radiant light.

On days that seem entrenched in valleys of sorrow, God is offering us joy.

On days where the loss seems bottomless, God is reminding us of the gift given.

On days when life seems dismal, God is giving us glimpses of hope.

On days when we are filled with fear, God is inviting us to a deeper trust.

On days when we feel lost and adrift, God is welcoming us to find our home in Jesus.

This journey is long and hard. It is excruciatingly painful. Although there are glimpses of the destination, at times it seems far off and unattainable. But the journey is worth the trip. It is easy to want to rush the journey. And yet as we take the time to be still and notice, God is present. There is evidence of life, joy and hope intermingled with the pain. Each step is a journey toward deeper trust and a richer experience of God and life.

Lent may be a regular practice in your life. Or perhaps you have never taken the time to observe Lent. Or maybe you are engaging in it for the first time this year. Whatever the case may be, as the days lead up to Easter, may you be mindful of the journey you are on and be intentional about taking moments to stop and notice and to engage God more deeply as you recognize that the journey we are on leads to resurrection life.

JoMarie Grinkiewicz is a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park. If you are interested in registering, please contact JoMarie at jo.marie719@outlook.com.