By Kathy Gallo
Connecting faith and life
I have just completed reading a book about Dr. Seuss. Wow! I learned a great deal about a complicated man who had a major impact on the reading lives of children and adults!
Reading a biography like this lets you see the expanse of a life journey and growth. While Dr. Seuss, or Ted Geisel, was not what we might call a spiritual person, his story reveals a story of conversion, growth and commitment to good.
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” (Seuss).
When I was learning to read in grade school, we used the whole-word method. We did not look at words phonetically. Dr. Seuss created books using “sight words” in a way that was engaging and fun.
He spent hours with the list of approved words for certain grades to create stories that were delightful, with outrageously funny pictures to go with them. Dr. Seuss was a master of delving into the word and bringing it alive.
Although Dr. Seuss began writing before I was in grade school, I never became familiar with his work until I was an adult. I am so glad that I found him.
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” (Seuss).
So, what does Dr. Seuss have to do with Lent? Maybe we can approach life during Lent with a little bit of his love of the word and of story. While Seuss’s final product is delightful, meaningful and fun, we do not see his struggle, grappling and engagement with the word necessary to reach this level of creativity.
While Lent is a time of repentance – turning toward God, silence and sacrifice – we are blessed with knowing the rest of the story. Our Lenten walk reunites us with Jesus, his teachings and life, his ultimate giving of self and his love for us in a defined time. During Lent, we delve deeper into the story and the Living Word of God to bring it alive in our lives. There is joy in Lent because we do not walk the journey in darkness, but with the knowledge of resurrection and life.
“Today you are You that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You”(Seuss).
So, in the spirit of Dr. Seuss, his love of the power of word and love of life, here are a few ideas for Lent:
- Find a children’s book; maybe by Dr. Seuss, maybe not. Read it slowly; carefully. Read it along with the daily or Sunday Scripture. What does the story evoke about life, joy, the Gospel? Maybe you can read the story with a child. Open up to the wonder of the word and Word of God.
- Find a biography of someone who interests you, a book or a documentary, and read or watch the person’s story looking for moments of growth and loss, discovery and conversion. There are many books on the saints, but I challenge you to pick someone you just want to learn about. Where do you see God in this person’s story? What did you learn about this person’s journey and your faith journey?
- Take time to revisit your life and memories. Document your story in some way. Begin with your earliest memory. Where do you see life, death, loss, resurrection, letting go? We each live the paschal mystery in our lives. How have you grown in your love for God and where do you see God most present in your life?
- Gather with family and loved ones around the table for a meal in an intentional way this Lent. Tell stories and revisit past and present stories. Connect the stories to Jesus’ story.
“Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy. They just said it would be worth it.” (Seuss)