Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent. With an "E".

Everyone likes to make jokes about "lint" when I say something about the season of Lent. Thus, the title of this blog.

Anyway, the Lenten season is upon us, and for many people I know who grew up Protestant, this means little. Lent, for those who were not raised Catholic or simply don't know, is the forty days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. I cannot fully explain why I observe Lent, but I do believe it has something to do with wanting to embrace the gravity and holiness of the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior. Also, I liked to meet my Grandma half-way with things when I was growing up, like reading her Catholic Bible, learning to say the Rosary (not necessarily doing it, but knowing about it), and things like that. My mom and I liked to keep an open religious forum in our family. But I digress.

Lent is not simply about "giving up" things. I do not do the whole vegetarian thing like many Catholics do, with allowances for fish on Friday. In fact, I had steak last night...on a Sunday! However, I have forsaken certain things that I like in order to hopefully become more focused on spiritual things. It's a form of fasting.

For me this year, I have chosen to give up all alcohol and not allow myself to watch over one hour of TV a day. If I watch a movie, I make an exception. I found myself watching too much TV lately, and thought that there were certainly more contructive ways to use my time. I'm not fooling myself or anyone else by saying that all this extra time and energy is going to be put toward prayer or reading my Bible...I'm not that holy! But when I turn off the TV after only one episode of Law and Order (instead of three or more!), I think about why I am doing it. When I sheepishly tell the waitress at a bar that I would like some hot chocolate instead of a shot of schnapps or something, I think about the conviction and reasoning behind it. It's a bonus when people ask me why I'm doing it...I get to witness to them a bit!

So there you go. I think about my Grandma Betty a lot during this season, too. It makes me sad and happy at the same time: sad because I miss her, but happy because I know she's in Heaven and having a great time, and that I will see her someday soon. Lately, I find myself wearing a lot of the jewelry she gave me, just as a little remembrance. My days are imbued with a little more meaning in this season, and I don't think anyone can fault that!

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