March 1st marks the beginning of Lent. This season of the church year is one of preparation and renewal before the coming of Easter on April 16th. The 40 days of Lent are traditionally a time of prayer, fasting, reflection, and penitence. What that looks like in the life of a community, a family, and as an individual can look all sorts of ways. For many, there’s a practice of giving something up or taking something on during this time. The hope and impulse behind this is to do something that feeds your soul, that refocuses your awareness on some aspect of your faith life, and deepens your relationship to God.
For me, often that means trying to take on or give up too much. While coming up short in my Lenten practices has made for good reflective and insightful fodder, I think the best advice I’ve been given is: keep it realistic and simple.
Where have you noticed tugs or tightness in your life? Perhaps this will involve better self-care (change of diet, take a walk during lunch, etc.) or strengthening connections with your family or neighbors (have dinner with friends, write one letter a week, volunteer, etc.). Practices of prayer and the reading of scripture are ancient habits people have engaged during this season.
However you wade into the waters of Lent this year, I invite you to remember with me the mantra: Keep it realistic. Keep it simple.