I’m somewhere in the middle of my Lent. I’m doing great on my daily prayers, with a little bit of lateness (my Malaysianness is showing). But I’m lagging behind on my letters, and will probably have to continue finishing them up after Lent, which is something I expected. But hitting the midpoint of something really makes you stop to reflect.
As each day passes, I wonder how much progress I’m actually making. Each day is an arduous journey. Especially in my current state of being not well and living in a season of a pandemic that I thought would be over by April but probably not. So I try to take each day as it comes, not worrying too much about the immediate future or any future – if I can’t predict how many hours I’d be awake for in the next day, I definitely cannot plan my week ahead.
Yet as I looked up on my family drive to lunch, I saw the clouds settle over the forest-filled mountains. I used to not care at all about this kind of scenery, because it was so sombre and monotone. But after meeting someone who absolutely loved the greenery mixed in with a misty kind of fog – I started to kind of fall in love with this image too.
I began to see beyond the sadness to see the different shades of green.
I’ve also been thinking about Ecclesiastes a lot lately. The whole book is a philosophical nihilistic gem, and something it repeats over and over is that ‘everything is vanity’. But I was reminded recently in my Old Testament class that ‘vanity’ is a bad translation of the original Hebrew word hevel.
Hevel is closer to wind, or breath, or vapour. Or as I enjoyed in my surface-level research for this post: breath that’s already been spent.
As I pondered over my prayer for today, my journey to notice the clouds surrounding the mountains, the person that showed me how to notice the clouds, the meaningless and meaning of all of it, here is my prayer.
Fun tidbit: if you have around 8 minutes to spare, definitely watch this video on the book of Ecclesiastes, and maybe even give it a read! It’s one of the most poignant books, and it’s encouraging that it’s in the Bible, because it means that God welcomes all this doubt, uncertainty, depth of thought, hopelessness and our daily human struggles.