Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Flowers in the desert

Death of any kind is rarely a welcome experience.  You would think we would be used to it watching nature year after year resurrect into glorious spring, after the death of winter. On the farm, we witness death as animals are slaughtered to provide food, or a beloved animal  or pet dies. For some reason it seems to happen more frequently in Lent and for some reason it is harder to bear, perhaps because we do not look forward to Holy Week and Passion.

We resist death, trying to numb ourselves from life's inevitable stripping away of our  earthly "security". But when we turn to face death honestly, we feel the fullness of the grief it brings and we slowly begin to discover the new life awaiting us.

Aidan with LaRen & her first lamb- 8 years ago
Rather than a presence only at the end of our lives, death can become a companion along each step, heightening our awareness of life’s beauty and calling us toward living more fully. St. Benedict tells us we should keep death daily before our eyes...  death to sin, death to our old ways, and death which brings us home to  eternal life.

Two animals died last week, my oldest and favorite ewe (after the gate was left open last year and the ram got her).  Father buried her under the fig tree. She left us with two beautiful black ewe lambs, which will be a reminder of her for many years to come.

A few days later one of the female llamas was found  dead in the pasture.  A gentle soul and the only female her mother (our first llama) ever gave us. We left her as food for the many eagles to have as a feast.

LaSeranada as a yearling
Such deaths make us ponder our own mortality and that  Lent is a painful reminder of what (and whom) we lose to death. My brother died five years ago this month and it seems like yesterday.

We must remember Lent isn’t about Good Friday’s cross and loss, but Easter Sunday’s empty tomb.

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