A Jahrzeit During Lent

by Christine Sine

by Bill Borror

May You who establish peace in the heavens, grant peace to us….
From Mourner’s Kaddish

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
John 11:25 

Just an old, sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind
                    Stuart Gorrell/ Hoagy Carmichael

My mother, Georgia S. Borror died on March 8th, 2023.  For the last year, when I have attended the Friday night Shabbat service at my wife’s synagogue, we stood and prayed the Mourner’s Kaddish with others who have lost loved ones. Having access to this practice for the first time in my life has been meaningful in ways I cannot fully articulate.  Mom’s service was the week after Easter, and I do believe in the hope of the Resurrection. But life is lived on this side of the Cross.  Being able to publicly acknowledge my loss by standing and praying has been a kind of yearlong acknowledgment of mortality and “from dust you came…”

It has also been a time of recalibrating my relationship with Mom.  Attending to the well-being of my mother after my father’s death was a constant calculus of figuring out what was best for her, what was needed, what was realistic. Even when you were doing what was best, it never felt good or enough. Since her death, there have certainly been moments of sadness wishing she could have met her latest great grandsons or being sorry she never got to visit us in Vermont, which she would have loved. But for the most part “Georgia on my mind” now is marked by gratitude and appreciation for being fortunate enough to have been loved so well by such a strong and spirited woman.

The paradoxes of grief and love, of death and hope that are the marks of both life and the season of Lent, are poignantly portrayed in John 11.  We are told that Jesus loves Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (11:5).  In the midst of bearing the brunt of Martha’s sorrow, anger  and disappointment, Jesus promises himself as the guarantee and comfort of the Resurrection (11:25). But even though there will be a miracle, Jesus also grieves with the broken hearted (11:35). 

I recently read a post by the lyricist Lenora Rand, who, evoking Bob Dylan stated, “Why Practice Lent? Because Everything Is Broken.”  That is why grief and Lent make for congruous companions.  But so are  hope and resurrection fitting traveling partners.  And somehow being on the road with Jesus holds them all together. 


What do you need this Lenten Season? What are you longing for as you look towards Easter? How can we create Beauty from the Ashes of the past two years?

Join Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin in this virtual retreat as they guide you to lay down grief and gather joys through the journey of Lent. This online course was adapted from a live virtual retreat.

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