Friday, March 11, 2011

What I love about Lent

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Today, some great things happened. Small things, but great, nonetheless. Including the following: mopped the floors, did approximately 900 loads of laundry [slight exaggeration alert!], had my girls help me pick out lots of fresh veggies from the store, and (you might wanna sit down for this one) COOKED! Don't get me wrong, I always manage to get some sort of semi-nutritious food on the table (we like to eat around here!), but I've been relying too heavily on convenience foods for far too long and new that I needed to make a change.

For Lent, there were SO many areas of life that needed improvement that I decided to do something small with a ripple effect -- I decided to limit my personal internet time to allow more time for cooking, taking walks, and reading with my girls. And that meatless soup I made today -- it was awesome! Man, if I had remembered that actually cooking something could yield such tasty results, I might have gone back to cooking long ago! It hardly seemed penitential to go without meat when that soup was so darned delicious. Also, the fresh ingredients were less expensive and had considerably less packaging than convenience foods, so I was saving green and going green by eating my greens! And it wasn't any extraordinary skill of mine that made the soup so good -- it was really a small effort on my part to re-order my life and make better use of the time and resources that God has given me. God did something great with such a small offering from me.

I realized that this is what I love about Lent -- it reminds me that sometimes 'giving something up' really means getting much more than I had before. It reminds me that no matter how dirty my kitchen floor is, I can always mop it again. That no matter how long it is since I've chopped vegetables, I can take up chopping again. That in 'dying to self,' I find more of my true self and experience a much fuller and more fulfilling life.

Lent reminds us that (as Pope John Paul II said among the final words I heard him speak in person) we are not the sum of our failures and weaknesses, but rather of God's love for us. Lent is filled with the hope that new habits can always be formed, bringing us closer to the person God has made us to be, no matter how far we've drifted. Lent is a message of God's mercy and love.

Peace and all good,

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