The season of Lent has meant different things to me and my spiritual practice over the years. In my early 20s, I was a serious diligent rule-follower, abstaining from meat on Fridays, fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It served me.
A good friend of mine often says, “Sometimes Lent comes to you.” This has also proven true for me. The seasons of turning back to God, getting back on “the regimen,” often come unbidden and not in March-April.
When I gave birth to my daughter five years ago during Lent, Lent certainly found me. In the trying time of caring for her while she was hospitalized and then crashing straight into the realities of caring for a newborn once she came home. Those realizations came down on me like a ton of bricks – and it took me a few years to come out from under the rubble.
This year, with my kid almost turning five and our life feeling – dare I say it – rather calm and quiet, I feel called to have a chill, but meaningful, Lent.
I encourage my students to do something for Lent that will help them become more mindful and more aware of God’s presence in their daily lives. In the past for me this has been as simple as not listening to music in the car while driving or not pressing ‘snooze’ on the alarm clock in the morning (ha! alarm clocks… for another post).
This Lent I’m planning to not use paper towels in public restrooms and let my hands air dry. While it’s an easy thing to do, already today – Ash Wednesday – I have forgotten and mindlessly grabbed three or four paper towels to wipe my wet hands. (I wash a lot at school). But, the practice is drawing me into the present moment, which is what I want. It’s not about perfect. It’s about present.
What are you feeling called to do this Lent?