Lenten Joy

Lent begins on Wednesday, March 2nd this year. It is a time of the quietest joy in sorrow. The time to make amends, think anew, find the sacred beauty in the ordinary and a time to prepare our hearts for kindness, joy, encouragement. This is the time to strengthen connections between ourselves, our children, our partners, and those friends that are chosen family.

Life is short. Let us make one another glad.

Let’s stand together in times of adversity and help one another.

Let’s cheer each other on.

Let’s love one another and find the best in each other.

Perhaps one of the most central questions in Lent is how do we become our whole, authentic self? How do we stop distancing ourselves from others and from the spiritual world? I think this is the true impulse of this time of year, no matter what spiritual background you have. It’s the question that surrounds new beginnings. Without this, we cannot grow close to others. And if we are so wounded that we cannot grow close to others, how do we heal that?

I think the most basic healing during Lent can come from the arts. Setting up a Lenten sacred time for yourself to paint, draw, create music, write, journal, create handwork, sculpt, be in nature, read, contemplate, can help you find and breathe your authentic self inward.

For your children, less is more in Lent. It’s the little lack of flowers on the table, the introspective mood, the listening rather than the speaking, the noticing the beautiful in the ordinary and the gratitude in the daily.

Fasting or eating less in general is appropriate within many cultures and religions this time of year, as is giving to others. I also usually love the Carbon Fast for Lent from Green Anglicans. I think this is less about punishment, but rather about strengthening our own will – what can we strengthen within ourselves? Can I find habits to change? Can I decrease the things that weigh on me? We all have those things! Someone recently shared with me that they quit drinking during “Sober October” but soon discovered that they felt so great after one month that they extended it 60 days, and then 90 days and are still going and feel fantastic! What is the thing you could give up and feel fantastic?

Self-talk can be a real challenge for many parents. Many parents really feel as if they are somehow the worst parents in the whole world and they believe that every other family is so much better and doing better than they are! This is rubbish, and largely fueled by people posting their highlight reels on social media, or the general silence that surrounds raising teenagers and young adults. Perhaps a wonderful Lenten project would be to improve your self-talk and replace negativity with positivity.

Going through the depths of Lent is a powerful experience. May this year find your Lenten time to be fruitful for your soul.

Blessings and love,

Carrie

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