And so it begins, the final week of Lent. It feels like it got here quickly, but a few weeks ago, it felt like it was taking forever. Such is the way it is with time, I suppose.
I’m thinking about Jesus, which makes sense given that today is Palm Sunday. By the time he climbed aboard the little donkey that the disciples had procured to convey him to Jerusalem, he had to know that this was the end of things. I often have wondered what Jesus knew and when he knew it about the time and manner of his death. He was, after all, the Son of God. Of course he was also the Son of Man, human like the rest of us. Did he have to guess, like the rest of us do, about what was going to happen? Did he know when he said good bye to his mother that last time that the next time he saw her he would be looking out through swollen eyes down at her from the cross? When did he know?
I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to come riding into town to the cheers of the crowd knowing, as he probably did, that these same adoring people would be jeering at and taunting him in a few short days. Was he able to enjoy the moment without focusing on the future? That would be the ultimate in living in the moment, and something I can learn from.
I, like so many of us, have a lot going on in my life. I have a lot of things coming up in the immediate future such that I can barely appreciate and enjoy what’s right in front of me. It’s an interesting and often difficult balance to strike: living in the moment while also preparing for the future. So I shift back and forth–do a little preparing for a little while, focus on the here and now for a little while. One can only prepare so much for a thing; even something that should be routine and predictable can take a quirky bounce and end up not at all as expected. So I plan and prepare, being certain to plan for when something unexpected happens, which is a bit ridiculous because it’s unexpected. But I try to control for it anyway.
I have things to think about and potential decisions to make, but they are not life and death like Jesus’s were. I won’t pray so hard about them that I sweat blood. I hope I can accept things as they come with some measure of equanimity, but knowing myself as I do, I am not sure how equanimous I can be. If I knew things far ahead, like Jesus did, would I go through with things that I knew would bring me pain and grief? I don’t know that I would have the strength to do what needed to be done.
These 40 days have been about thinking through questions like these and living into the answers, as best we can. Rilke says we are to, “try to love the questions themselves.” And so we do, even when there are more questions than answers and we don’t have Jesus’s foreknowledge. It is as it ever has been, world without end. Amen.