All of us have favorite places and special spots. In the not-so-sleepy town where I live--they keep coming back year after year. Not just to football games or Alumni week-ends--but I see them walking down the street, pointing out some college building to one of their children. Spending time in the Sports shops to take aback home a little pierce of something that really matters.
I think they keep coming back because something special happened to them here. Friendship. A love affair. Meeting the one you hope to live with for the rest of your life. Maybe it was some kind of hinge-turning moment when you sat in a class and suddenly lightning struck and you have not been the same sense.
I took the picture you see at the beginning of this piece. In fact I took photographs over and over from different angles. More than that--year after year I would stand and look at this aluminum statue and marvel at its power. It stands behind the Trinity Church on Mercer Street in Princeton, New Jersey. Jesus bears the cross. His hand is outstretched bidding whomever would to follow him.
I spent over thirty years in the summer attending an Institute down the street from this statue. And as the years rolled by and I changed in so many ways--I always walked up Mercer Street and stood and pondered the power of this statue.
I can't tell you the pull of that sculptured artistic rending--I only know that for me it is holy ground. I have wept there. I have asked forgiveness there. I have just sat looking. I have prayed there. And I have come away so many times a little different. How? I do not know.
But this I know whatever happens and whatever life brings or fails to bring--I remember an aluminum statue and an outstretched hand and when I remember I can go on.
Lent is the season of turning inward. Of looking past all the debris of everyday. Not evading all that is out there--and that is an understatement. But today I can still see the aluminum Jesus--and I grow quiet and hopeful and moved as if for the first time.
I hope somewhere you have such a place. It doesn't have to be religious in the regular sense. But a place where you breathe deep and touch wonder maybe for a just a moment and then move on.
--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com