Usually Lent is taken as a time of fasting and penitence, a time to give up something for a short while. Not so that we can feel all virtuous but rather as a symbol and route to seeing the spiritual truth and reality behind all our material goods. It’s also about being in solidarity with those who are struggling, a way of acknowledging God’s goodness and abundance in our lives.
Sometimes giving things up can allow us to see past all the day to day clutter to what is really needed and valuable in our lives. But this past year has been like an unending Lent. Or perhaps we might say we are living in a groundhog version of Holy Saturday – the time after Christ’s death, still awaiting the Resurrection. And frankly there is still no clear end in sight.
We have spent ten months now in one form of lockdown or another, deprived of some of the basic human necessities of physical touch and contact – without which we are not really able to fully express ourselves. Isolation is essentially alien to being human. We are social creatures, and we are able to be fully and joyously ourselves most of all in relationships with other people. It is in these relationships that we really come to know and see ourselves.
We have been cut off from all of this. And it has hurt, deeply.
So this Lent, I am not going to give up anything at all. We have already, all of us, given up too much. We are mourning and grieving so much that we hold dear, that is precious to who and what we are at our very core.
Instead, each day, I am going to find three things to give thanks for. I am going to take on a gratitude practice instead – and in all honesty there may be days when that’s a challenge. If you’d like to join me in this, you would be most welcome.
As we continue to trudge through these days, still waiting for the Resurrection of Easter, dwelling in the “now and not yet” that is our collective reality as vaccines roll out but yet we continue to battle the reality of Covid, I hope this will bring us all some joy and the strength to continue on until we can embrace each other once more.
Blessings and Light,