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On the Brink of Lent

On the Brink of Lent
This year I have made multiple plans for Lent and am now excited that Ash Wednesday is just around the corner.
Years ago when my children were young, I wrote an activity for every day of Lent for us to do as a family—keep a calendar of sunrises and sunsets to see how the days do lengthen; having a Stone Soup party; making pretzels; creating a spring mobile; having a wonder bowl; writing an Easter litany, and on and on.
Now the children are grown and I find myself making a Lenten plan just for me. The other night I was reading in the magazine Weavings, an article titled “Keep In Touch,” and it gifted me with my outline for Lent.
My plan is titled “Staying in Touch During Lent” and it has three parts: Staying in touch with those around me, with my truest self, and with God.
Staying in Touch With Those Around Me—goes back several years to a time when I was down in the dumps. It happened to be around Lent, and a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you try contacting somebody each day during Lent and letting them know you’re thinking about them.” I did that and my “down-in-the-dumps” left.
In its place has been a rich practice of calling people who live too far for me to see them often, or contacting people that are just going through a hard time, or reaching out to people I just want to be sure I stay in touch with. And I keep track in a special calendar of these calls (or lunches, or over-nights), so that I keep myself accountable and can know that it’s been six weeks since I talked to this one or that one and they’re due for a call.
For this section I’m also going to explore whether there’s a way to expand “those around me” to beyond my friends and into the world.
Staying in Touch With My Truest Self—this section involves a little book titled 40 Soul-Stretching Conversations—writing a spiritual journal with Joan Chittister.” She writes a short piece, she gives the reader either a short piece of scripture or a quote by someone, and then provides space for me to write a few sentences of reflection.
This section also asks me to be in relationship to food in a healthy, reasonable way. There’s an empty bowl on my dining room table that Thich Nhat Hanh refers to as a bowl of appropriate measure. It reminds me.
Staying in Touch With God— This one involves a short daily meditation time (can be with a mindfulness walk, a sitting prayer time, or a movement dance). And finally this section ends each evening with a time of prayer, a time of me questioning my day and a short journal entry of how I lived in the middle of it, and ending with a song.
And so it’s an intentional staying in touch during Lent. Join me on part of it or all of it, or at the least, wish me well.

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