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  • Writer's pictureSt Giles Online

Hopeful journeying

As we undertake Lent’s pilgrimage of the soul, we find ourselves suspended between past and future, write Rev. Chris Smaling. We wrestle with our shortcomings and envision the possibilities for growth. It can feel disorientating, yet in this space lies the potential for transformation.


It is half term as I sit to write this. Halfway through the spring term and halfway through the first year in my new role as headteacher  (that’s how I spend my weekdays).  Half term: time and space for a think!

You end one year as an accomplished deputy head, July brings a card, signed by (just about) everyone, and a voucher for a shop on the high street.  The summer holiday is a time when you are no longer a deputy but not yet a head.  You have no role, part of your identity is gone. September comes and you’re expected to have metamorphosed into a headteacher, ready to lead a school.  I’m not sure what was supposed to happen to me in those six weeks, but I missed it!

So this break has provided space, a pause in the regular activities of my day-job to think about the past and look forward to what might be, half way through this first year.  One thing I have come to realise clearly is that I have a long way to go.  I can credit the things achieved, but there’s still quite some growing to do.  I’m neither who I was nor who I want to become, I’m somewhere in-between.  I feel ok with that, I’m ready to grow.

In the journey of faith, Lent emerges as a metaphorical "in-between" space — a sacred pause between what was and what is to come. It's a season of transition, a spiritual threshold where we acknowledge the distance between our current reality and our aspirations. Lent encourages us to reflect on the path we've travelled, the places we've been and possibly now left behind, the destinations we yearn to reach.

Lent invites us to confront our vulnerabilities and embrace our discomfort or desire to change. It's a time for soul-searching, for recognising and shedding the things that hold us in the past and clearing the path ahead.

In the rhythm of Lent, we discover that the journey itself is sacred—a sacred unfolding of grace and redemption. Though we may not yet have arrived at our desired destination, Lent reminds us that the road ahead is illuminated by hope. As we journey through this in-between place together, let us journey with courage and conviction, trusting in the promise of renewal that awaits us at journey's end.

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