I am reminded just how much I love the season of Lent. It is a preparation, a time of examination, an opportunity to turn within – which encourages us to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others.
My absolute favorite thing about Lent is the scripture reading from the Ash Wednesday Mass this morning:
Rend your hearts, not your garments.
I love the idea of Lent being about changes INSIDE, which manifest as a change in our actions toward others.
I was listening closely this morning when Father was talking about fasting. He proposed the idea that, for those who were struggling with the idea of what to “give up,” (yeah, totally me) to consider the idea of deciding not what we should NOT do, but what we SHOULD do instead; to replace our Lenten Fasting with the sacrificial discipline of facing something we are avoiding.
Hello. So me.
I am also fortunate to live with the Lenten Secret Police (my kids). So I make sure to announce my Lenten intentions to them, as they are a great help in enforcing my self-discipline.
I have been working on cleaning our garage. This is a job I have been avoiding since the day we moved into this house - it came “as is” with a mess of its very own. I have given a generous number of excuses over the past nine years as to why I do not go in there and clean it up. No more! I started working on it a few weeks ago, cleaned it enough to have the worst parts over with, and promptly went back to avoiding it again.
I also have a problem with my filing system. Like anyone on Earth, I dislike paperwork and keeping track of it. When we moved, I had a pretty good system set up. However, like I mentioned before, that was nine years ago. We have since grown far out of that system. I have (yes, count them) three unused filing cabinets strung about the house (yes, mostly in the garage) that I need to get cleaned out and set up. I am so over-run with papers now that we have been homeschooling for two years (holy cow) that I’m afraid I’ll lose Little Cowgirl if she ever wades into them.
I am going to spend at least ten minutes for each of the forty days of Lent working on one of these areas of clutter and distress in my home. I will be patient and inclusive of all my shorter-in-stature but bigger-in-intentions helpers during this time. I will focus on teaching about working together and doing a job right, rather than insisting on doing it myself so it can be done quickly and correctly.
A complete side note, but I notice each year that Ash Wednesday has some of my favorite hymns all packed together. These include ”Change Our Hearts,” “With These Ashes,” and especially “You Alone.” As a humorous aside, I just asked the kids which songs we sang during Mass (two hours ago) and Shooter listed not only the songs, but the page number in the book where they could be found. Freaky!
What are you doing this year for Lent?