I grew up Baptist so I wasn’t aware of Ash Wednesday and the concept of Lent until I started working at 8045. The notion of a 40 day sacrifice to get closer to one’s spiritual self sat well with me. My parents didn’t understand why I was suddenly going to practice Lent but I gave up sweets that first year, adding Lent to the patchwork of religious ritual I’ve appropriated throughout my life in order to express my faith.
These days I no longer give up something for Lent. I live an ascetic life because of financial hardship so to give up the little I have would make my 40 days less of a spiritual examination and more of a spiteful attack against others. Now I seek a balance of external and internal examination. I strive to practice a generous Lent with the help of 40acts.org.uk while usually choosing a spiritual text to deep dive into.
This year I’ve had three spiritual books sent my way via the Divine Wow. I had already chosen May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein because it bills itself as a “40 Day guidebook of subtle shifts for radical change and unlimited happiness”. Then, as I was walking near the Ferndale location of John King Books I saw a copy of Oriah’s The Call and it called out to me. I’ve admitted that I’m going through a bit of an identity crisis. I’m hoping the book will help. Then, after a moving conversation with my friend, Crystal, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, she gave me a copy of Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. I knew, through Crystal, that he’s the patron saint of journalism. I’ve discovered that Pope Pius XI proclaimed him a patron of writers as well. Since I’ve gone back to keeping a journal and I’ve started to write again, I’m curious to read this book.
I’m also going to be focused on my wellness. I need to start treating myself better than I do and the Lenten season is a great time to do that. I indulged in some pączki including a buttercream filled pączek from Apple Fritter that has become my favorite. But waking up yesterday to another swollen ankle and having to wait a few hours until I was able to walk without pain makes me realize I need to focus on overall wellness, mind, body and soul.
Forty days of contemplation about where I’ve been, where I’m at and where I need to be, the direction I need to head paired with an ongoing study on forgiveness and awareness of how blessed I am and how appreciative I am will make for an interesting Lenten journey.