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Lent, in Old English, means lengthen. Often, when we think of Lent, we think “less” – a giving up of things, be it food, activities, or any other thing that might sway us from focusing on Christ. Less makes room for more. This is good.
But thinking of Lent as lengthening changes the perspective a bit. Lengthening may mean lingering. Reflecting. Patiently noticing. The words of classics scholar, Darcy Weir, in her introduction to A Way of Seeing, capture this essence: “. . . all of us possess, at least potentially, the ability to pay close attention to what is before our eyes, to be patient as we behold an object or scene, to linger on it long enough, tenderly and attentively enough, for it to begin to reveal its own unique nature.”
In these days leading up to Resurrection Day – days that are literally lengthening and bringing forth new life from the earth – may we come to the Cross with this sense of lingering. Of giving ourselves the space and length of time to behold, and see what God might reveal to us
Lilias did this. She saw things, and she put her sightings and insights down on paper, through words and through paintings. Her “way of seeing,” has been captured by biographer Miriam Rockness in a little volume by that same name. In A Way of Seeing, Rockness compiled forty of Lilias’s quotes and paired them with forty of her paintings. As the reader gets a glimpse into the heart and eyes of Lilias – her inward and outward vision – we learn to see as she sees. If we take the time to do so.
Each day of Lent, we will be posting a painting and a quote from this book, working our way through the book. Forty days of Lent; forty paintings and quotes. We encourage you to take time to ponder them. Darcy Weir, in the introduction, guides the reader in how to approach A Way of Seeing. Her directives fit in beautifully with this idea of lengthening and lingering. She writes:
“Spend time with the images, enough time to allow your spirit’s inner eye to awaken, and your imagination to stir. Be patient. Gradually, the mystery, the unique identity, of the object or scene will unfold before your eyes. As you become more accustomed to this way of viewing Lilias’s works, so will you begin to see the beauties of your own surrounding world reveal themselves. And then the purpose for which this little volume was created will be fulfilled.”
If you do choose to spend Lent with Lilias via A Way of Seeing (posted daily here on our website on our Features page*), we’d love to hear about how these daily paintings and readings impact you. How is God speaking to you through Lilias’s words? Through her paintings? Or, taking it even a step further, how is God revealing Himself to you through your own surroundings? We encourage you to comment and share your own “way of seeing” on any of the upcoming Lenten posts.
However you choose to reflect and prepare for the commemoration of Christ’s death and resurrection over these next six weeks, may it be a time of “lengthening” for you. May you find that time to patiently notice and linger. May you discover a way of seeing Christ that draws you closer to Him and speaks to your soul. And may you enjoy these lengthening days of spring, and all the beauty and life that come with it!
*Click here to sign up to receive the daily Lent with Lilias postings via email. It will take you to the Features home page, where you can subscribe by entering your email (note: you will be subscribing to this website’s blog, which we call Features. We will not use your email for anything else, nor share it with anyone).