What I’m Doing–and Not Doing–for Lent, and Why

When I started my Etsy shop I realized I was doing a liturgical-crafter’s version of Holiday Inn: I basically wanted to work “holidays only” (Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter) and be lazy the rest of the year.

I was weaving purple and white stoles, putting together AltarBoxes and weekly devotionals and prayers, and suddenly I was personally observing Advent and Lent—in writing and in weaving—before Advent or Lent ever started. The seasons themselves seemed almost redundant.

What I’m not doing this year.

My first instinct is always to write something new. But it seems like after a year of pandemic life, there’s a lot of “content creation” out there around prayer, home/family devotions, reflective readings, and more. I’ve decided not to write new stuff for Lent this year.

I’m not weaving, either. My shop is technically open but currently empty, and so is my loom. I’m concentrating (when I’m not absorbed in self-indulgent blog posts) on writing curriculum, and weaving is low on the To Do List.

I’m also not reposting old writings, though I considered it. If you click on the Lent Year B button under my Blog Devos, there are daily prayer/poems from nine (!) years ago, and lots more readings, sermons, and so on under the Lent button.

And I’m not giving up anything. Most years something has come to my attention that was a worthwhile denial or a needed habit-break: I’ve given up social media, eating out at restaurants, even using the bathroom scale. I still need to better manage my doomscrolling, but we rarely eat out (hiya pandemic!), and I got rid of the scale ages ago when I read Intuitive Eating. And frankly with everything going on in the world, it feels like Enough just to sit with things as they are.

What I’m doing…

  • I’m continuing with daily meditation (currently participating in the Real Happiness 28-day challenge with Sharon Salzberg). Turns out sitting with things as they are is an actual practice. Who knew?
  • I’m continuing to add daily prayer time to my morning meditation. For Lent I’m using the book This Day: A Weslayan Way of Prayer because it incorporates the Psalm cycle and lectionary scripture readings.
  • I’m reflecting on some of the principles I was introduced to in The Heart of Yoga and in my Yoga Mind reading last month. Truth, self-study, non-violence, purity, contentment, actions and results, devotion (and more, and more).

… and why.

  • Why meditation? I’ve tried (vaguely) multiple times to start meditating. Not only is it finally starting to “stick” as a daily practice, I am beginning to see its fruits in the rest of my days.
  • Why “rote” daily prayer? To connect with tradition and scripture. To access words of faith when I struggle for them, which is often. And to experience faithful Christian language in a way that is not baggage-laden (for me).
  • Why indigenous readings? Because I have a lot to learn that my own tradition/culture cannot (and sometimes simply will not) teach.
  • Why yogic philosophy? It strikes me as unemotional and very practical, even while it is introspective and intuitive. It speaks to everyday life, and how our actions and attitudes have direct implications on the world around us.

The truth.

As a mere dabbler in yoga, I don’t want to overstep myself and go too deep here… but this has been on my mind a lot (a lot) since I read about the principle of satya, truth.

Especially as we enter this season of recognizing that we are mortal, that we are flawed, and that we are (always) en route to Good Friday… the only way we can do Lent, and life, is truthfully. If we can’t tell the truth about ourselves, and to ourselves, we can’t truly confess our wrongs, take responsibility, and turn toward a new way. And if we can’t tell the truth, even about our doubts and fears, then we can’t fully confess our belief in the One we’re following toward the cross.

This journey—the journey of Lent, and the journey of life—are full of doubt, and scary as hell. We have to tell the truth about that.

We have to.

I have to.

Lately I’ve been naming some truths about myself—to myself—that feel really important; truths about my relationship to Christ and my relationship with Christianity. Some of it has been a long time coming, and a longer time becoming clear. Some of it is extremely uncomfortable, and some of it is more comfortable than I have been in a very long time.

Nobody said telling the truth (even to ourselves) will feel good… but it almost always feels right.

Kind of like Lent, I suppose. We know where we’ve been—dust and ashes—and where we’re going. Dust, ashes. Does it really matter what we do along the way, or what we don’t do? Maybe.

Does it matter why? Perhaps.

But does truth matter, when we tell it, when we know it, when we name it, when we live it? I think so. I hope so. I guess we’ll find out.

Stay well, friends. 🙏🏻

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