I never understood exactly why we did it, but we did and it seemed meaningful in an “at least we’re in the same sad, sugar-free boat” kinda way.
Part of my 2007 fall apart/fall back together, was spiritually re-engaging with God, my life and the world at large. I wasn't motivated by the fear of not going to church or by a new certainty of belief; fear and certainty actually led me away from my faith. I was spiritually inspired by the ideas of love, grace, joy and gratitude.
As I contemplated what to do for lent this year, I decided to focus on joy and gratitude. After reflecting and praying about it, I realized that my greatest barriers to joy and gratitude are fear and “busyness.” Of course, for me, the two go hand in hand: I can easily become afraid of how uncertain and vulnerable life is, so I stay really busy in order to feel “in control” and to minimize the feelings of vulnerability. The downside is that I’m so busy, I forget to create and appreciate joy.
So, for lent this year, I’m giving up a little bit of the fear and busyness that gets in my way of joy and gratitude.
First, I'm afraid of my Canon Rebel (and photography in general). I don’t understand how to make a photograph reflect what I’m seeing and any mention of aperture or shutter speed completely shuts me down. Even with all of these hurdles, photographs bring me (and my family) great joy. For lent, I’ve signed up for 4 photography classes (all before Easter).
Second, I love buying cards. I think a good card is like a little piece of art or poetry that comes with an envelope. I started colecting cards because I used to be really good at actually sending them. I haven’t sent a card in a couple of years (too busy, you understand). For lent, I’m going to start sending cards again – at least one card per week.
My hope is that, by Easter, I’ve developed some habits and invited more love and gratitude into my life. We'll see.