Debra Wise defines a scavenger hunt as “a party game in which the organizers prepare a list defining specific items, which the participants seek to gather or complete all items on the list, usually without purchasing them.” This weekend I did my own abbreviated type of scavenger hunt trying to resolve some technical issues; hence, the delayed posting of this post.
The word scavenger is an interesting one. The word “scavenger” is an alteration of the word “scavager”, which came from the Middle English ”skawager” which meant “customs collector”. However, its etymology can also be traced from the Middle English “skawage” meaning “customs”, the Old North French “escauwage” meaning “inspection” and the Germanic “schauwer” meaning “inspect”. It is also perhaps closely derived from the Old English “scēawian” and German “schauen” words meaning “to look at”, and modern English “show” (with semantic drift).
In olden times a scavenger was someone paid to clean the streets but in more modern usage the word refers to one who searches for and collects discarded items. In chemistry, though, a scavenger is a substance that reacts with and removes particular molecules, groups, etc.
We never hear Lent described as a scavenging season and yet, I am offering the notion that perhaps it is. Lent is a time to seek out that which we can and should eliminate or reduce in our living as well as a period in which we are encouraged to collect better habits. We have spent this Lenten series doing just that as life relates to the Beatitudes so in this the last post of the series, let’s scavenge a recap.
One of the weakest links and most dangerous threats to our living successfully is our own ego. It is when we feel depressed or worried that we lose that false image and allow others and our spirituality to help us. Being poor in our ego or spirit often gives us to learn from others and live a fuller life. The same is true for when we grieve. Most of us would prefer to offer compassion than receive it because we feel in control when we offer it. Being on the receiving end sometimes makes us feel weak but it should not because then we become stronger by fully being part of humanity.
The humble and meek are usually much more content with their daily lives than those trying to pretend they have everything… or should have everything. When we are content, we are better able to help others and live more productively and efficiently. Those who want justice and righteousness, who work for it daily are the people who make a difference in this world. They are also the people who not only give care to others, they receive it. These are the people whose inside voice matches their outside actions and that brings about personal and external peace. “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete and fight. That’s when you discover who you really are and your place.” I really like that quote from the Message Bible. As I have said before, life is a pace, not a race.
While the Beatitudes are from the New Testament, they do not only apply to Christians. They offer us all good advice on how to find the pearls of wisdom that life offers us each and every day. All we have to do is go on a scavenger hunt for life!