When I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, I was sitting next to my friend, Nikki, as she explained to us what Lent was and what she was planning to give up for 40 days until Easter. I thought it seemed like a rather humble and pious thing to observe and was impressed that people all around the world were trading worldly vices and habits for repentance and gratitude. Then she said she was giving up fish for Lent – she didn’t even eat fish to begin with. Then came the explanation of Mardi Gras – oh, jeez.
I was amazed and rather appalled that something that was intended for self-reflection and improvement had become a joke or an excuse for indulgence for so many. Over the years I’ve wondered how many people woke up Easter morning to discover they were pregnant or their marriage was in jeopardy due to their indiscretions on Mardi Gras. Thankfully, there are many who take the Lenten season seriously and become better for it. A friend shared an article from White House Black Shutters today about simplifying your life by de-cluttering your home one space at a time for 40 days. Another one over at Catholic All Year had lots of ideas for “beginners, intermediate, and advanced” levels of sacrifice and commitment. These were some of my favorites:1. Don’t eat out at restaurants 2. Make all your food from scratch 3. Grow/raise all your own food 1. If you like email, make phone calls 2. If you like talking on the phone, write letters 3. Go visit someone in person 1. Give up one particular type of treat
So although my faith doesn’t officially recognize Lent (perhaps because we strive for self-improvement and make lots of sacrifices all year long – those 3 hours of church are often the l o n g e s t of the week) I felt compelled to observe it this year. I wanted to sort of combine the ideas I found of de-cluttering with connecting more and improving my relationships. I’m going to clean out my collection of scrapbook papers (a vast collection a hoarder could be proud of) and make a card to send to 40 friends and family members.
To keep me motivated, I’ll post pictures of some of the cards I made. To get me started, here’s some lovely lovely inspiration from Coco/Mingo.