05 March 2014

A different kind of Lent...


All last week and up until mid-day yesterday I have been dreading Lent.


Kinda like Capt. Jack Sparrow; just yuck and blah.

In my daily life, I'm really good at keeping busy; furiously checking things off my to-do list and priding myself on how MUCH I get done and what I am always busy doing.  But all that busyness is catching up with me, it is wearing down my spirit.  Though I love quiet, peaceful moments...I'm not generous enough with myself to allow time for that every day.  On top of being the busy worker bee I am, I need to be more focused on my own self care this Lent.  I need to work my own recovery just; like my husband needs to do the same and keep learning.healing.growing. from addictions he struggles with.

Leading up to today, I haven't felt very prepared to enter into these holy days.  I have felt so beaten down and frustrated with things in life.    And then I felt refreshed when I read Elizabeth's post on how to have a gentle Lent.  Reading it was just what this tired soul needed.  Like Elizabeth, I totally have a tendency to over-commit and overdo Lent.  Which makes me chuckle, because Lent is not so much about DOING, but rather BEING.

This point was so beautifully illustrated when Jim and I went to Mass at 9a for Ash Wednesday.  It was an all school Mass, which meant all the kids were at church in their uniforms.  The priest asked the children, "So what exactly is the point of Lent, anyway?"  His answer?
Lent is about spending 7 weeks looking at the crucifix; looking at Jesus hanging on those wooden beams. And in that prayerful look, we ask Jesus "How can I change? How can I become more like You?".  Lent is about a loving, prayerful exchange of looks between God and his child.  And yes, prayer, fasting, and alms-giving are all important and helpful tools to help make the most of these 40 days...BUT we cannot get so caught up in the stuff.actions. of Lent, but remember the One whom Lent is all about.

So this Lent, I am going to be gentle with myself {not soft or easy on myself}...but more patient and less harsh with myself.

I feel inspired by God in the ways I want to live this Lenten season in a gentle manner.

Prayer:  I have set three alarms on my phone to stop and pray. from the heart. the serenity prayer:
Such richness.wisdom.hope. in these words...
I'll also spend time each morning or evening praying with Scripture. 30 minutes.  I NEED it.


Fasting:  I will fast from "checking up" daily on my husband's recovery, but rather let him do his own work and share when he feels ready/able.  I will not nag him about what he needs to do to take care of himself, but instead focus on the positive steps I see him taking and be more affirming.  We will have 1 time a week to openly share.discuss.ask questions on how both of us are doing (recovery wise).


Almsgiving:  I will send a hand-written note/card each week to a different person and mailing it...and.come. on.  Am I the only one who gets excited when I get snail mail?! ;)


I feel hopeful now starting Lent...like I can do this and live these days with a gentleness to myself I'm not quite used to.


May these next 40 days be a time of peace and refreshment for you.

3 comments:

  1. What a great idea for fasting - I am going to take a page from your book and give it a try as well :)

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  2. I like snail mail too! :) Like it was the most important thing you pointed out, hehe. All in all, great post! :)

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  3. I hope your Lent will be blessed and full of grace. The Serenity prayer has been in my heart a great deal over the last week, I think I will take up your idea of praying it regularly during the day.
    Thank you for such an honest and inspiring post.

    Juliet

    http://stilllearning1.wordpress.com/

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