There are a number of major events coalescing on the same day this Wednesday, with the two major ones being Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday. But if you know me very well, you know I'm crazy about baseball -- and more specifically, the Seattle Mariners. So, one of the things I'm really excited about is that Wednesday is the first day of Spring Training. America's pastime is back!
Now, at first glance, you're probably wondering what baseball has to do with Lent. Let me explain. This time of year, as a Seattle Mariners fan, is an interesting time of year. On the one hand, the Mariners have been bad for so long -- 17 years since they last made the playoffs -- that it's easy to be pessimistic about their chances this season. And yet, this is the start of the new year and anything is possible. So, this is a really hopeful time of year, as well.
And the season of Lent is the same way. Lent is a time of self-discipline -- a time to focus and center ourselves on our deficiencies and worldliness, temptations and shortcomings. We are reminded that we came from dust...and to dust we shall return. And yet, Lent is also a time of hopefulness. No matter how dark life gets, how challenging the trials and temptations are, or how destructive and unhealthy our lives have become...there is always hope. There is always resurrection on the horizon. No matter how dark and depressing Friday seems...Sunday is coming.
So, the impending baseball season -- which always brings me equal parts joy and sorrow -- is a perfect reminder that life is the same way. But no matter how hard the past season was, there is always hope for the season to come. No matter how much 'death' we have experienced, there is always the hope of new life.