Thanks to some recent conversations with Marnie, lent has really been on my brain these days. Although February 17th (Ash Wednesday and the beginning of lent) doesn’t feel soon, it’s really only a few weeks away!
Last year I did a terrible job at lent. I was recovering from major surgery and felt I was already giving a lot up. Going to work, normal showers, and lifting anything over 5 lbs- to name a few. When the covid-19 pandemic rolled in it was another excuse for me not to choose intentional Lenten practices for the year. If I was adding seeing friends and going out to shows to the list, why on earth would I try to add anything else?
But I think my error was in viewing a Lenten practice as something that needed to subtract from my quality of life, and also as something outside of my control.
This year I’m doing lots of thinking/ journaling/ talking to my therapist about ways I can approach lent that won’t feel like a burden or an “add on” to the things I’ve given up because of covid. I don’t know yet what that could look like. I think it could be giving up something that isn’t life-giving to me, taking on a new practice for my spiritual life, or some combination of those things. I also think it could look like giving up something I don’t necessarily want to, but choosing to spend a lot of time reflecting on that choice, how it’s affecting me, and that it was a choice made by me, from a place of empowerment.
This change in perspective has been super helpful for me because I’m beginning to anticipate lent as a way to still engage deeply with my spiritual life despite current restrictions. A huge change from seeing lent as an extension of those restrictions.
So I wonder, what will your Lenten practice look like this year, and what are you doing to prepare your heart for that season?
This reflection was part of the weekly e-mail reflection prepared by members of St. Brigid's Discernment Congregation.