Growing up I always thought Lent was a Catholic holiday. My grandparents were Catholic and Lent meant fish fries on Fridays and that’s about it. Grandma told me to give things up for lent. One year I think I gave up chewing gum. Another year I might have given up chocolate.
This year for some reason, I’ve been thinking about lent a lot, so I started doing some research. What does it means, what is it’s purpose, why do people observe it? It is observed in preparation for Easter. 40 days, to represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil, or also 40 days that Moses spent on Mt. Sinai. Ash Wednesday, which is today, is the beginning of Lent for Western Christian churches. It’s a day of penitence to clean the soul before the Lent fast. Lent ends on the Thursday before Good Friday.
The word “Lent” comes from the old English, “lencten,” which means “lengthen” or “spring.” It comes from when the days begin to lengthen as spring is approaching.
Lent is a period of abstinence preparatory to the Feast of Easter. Father J. Michael Sparough says that Lent is a way to “Renew our spirits by entering into this season of holy discipline to prepare for the joy of the resurrection.”
I ordered this book by C.S. Lewis to use as a devotional throughout Lent. I’m not sure what I’m going to give up. I think it will be television. This year has been hard and I want to make sure I am doing all the right things. Following the right path. Doing the things I need to do. I’ve been listening to Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio and I just love that he said that “We are not David in the story of David & Goliath. Jesus is David. Jesus is the giant killer. Jesus fights the battles for us. Jesus stares down the face of impossible odds. The giant falls because of the work of JESUS.” Louie Giglio (Goliath Must Fall) So maybe there aren’t too many things I need to be doing. But I do know that I need to work on my foundation. My relationship with Jesus.
With my neck and back problems there’s a lot of talk about your brain and your body not working together ad how you need to reprogram it and I see this reflected not just in my body and my mind, but also my spirit. My body and my mind think I have to DO things all the time. I have to keep working and keep trying and keep moving forward, trying to be better, trying to figure it out, but my spirit keeps telling me to be still. And to be honest, I am really crap at being still. Since the bombing especially, I haven’t had too many quiet moments. I either have music, an audio book, or the television on. At the beginning it was because I was scared. The hospital was loud. I did it as a coping mechanism to drown everything else out. I don’t know if that is still why I do it, or if it is just because I am so used to it now that silence seems like impending doom. But maybe that is what I will focus on this Lenten season.
Being still. Being ok with the quiet. Spending time listening. Just being. Without distraction. My phone says I pick it up 116 times a day. I get 714 notifications per day. I spend 30 hours a week on my phone. Yes my job requires me to be on my phone, so a lot of that is work, but that’s still insane. I’ve forgotten how to be still. How to be quiet. How to relax without checking my phone, or my computer. So, I guess for the next 40 days, I’m going to be learning how to be quiet. Are any of you doing something for lent? I’d love to hear about it.