Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lenten Preparations

Lent, a time of sacrifice. Do we sacrifice to symbolize Jesus' sacrifice? Do we sacrifice because Lent is a dreary time on the liturgical calendar? My husband and I talk about this. He approaches Lent with misery. Here in Central Wisconsin the weather tends to be damp and dreary in February and March. Years when he doesn't have surgery, the work this time of year is monotonous. Everyday brings loading dumptrucks with sand and spreading it on the cranberry beds. Day in and day out this is tiresome and boring. Fasting is difficult. His parents were raised pre Vatican II. If it was fun or tasted good, it was bad for you. He was pressed to give something up, and it better be something fun or tasty.

I was not raised Catholic, but still Christian. Lent was a time of giving something up, but more for your own sake. Do you have the willpower? Can you make it through til Easter? It was almost a game, talked about, bragged about. In recent years though, I approach Lent with a different attitude. I believe the Lenten season should be a time of growth. I don't want to give up chocolate or TV just to see if I can make it. What good does that do? I want to give up something in order to make room for something else, some kind of growth. The best Lenten season I ever had was two years ago. I had decided to give up yelling at my children in order to make room for peace. The first 2 or 3 weeks were dreadful. We were late, no one remembered mittens, their bedrooms were a disaster, morning jobs didn't always get done, we rarely read because the toys never were picked up. I was miserable. No one listened when I spoke. Many times I had to remove myself from the situation for fear of giving in and not allowing peace to enter my home. But slowly the kids noticed how they couldn't find anything, how mom only said it was time to go once, how much they missed bedtime stories. I was able to find peace in my home not because I went searching for it, but because I made room for it to come on its own. This is the sort of growth Lent should bring.

This year I asked myself again what did I want to give up in order to make room for something new. As a family we decided that TV viewing will come to a screeching halt tomorrow morning. No morning news in bed, no babysitter videos so DH and I can you know what, no Grey's Anatomy on Thursday nights, no I don't know what else to do so maybe I'll watch a movie TV. What will this make room for? I can't wait to find out. As well as depriving myself I will be adding more prayer time. We use the Little Black Book Lenten Devotional. 6 minutes a day is all that's suggested; it began Sunday and so far it's not real deep, but it is nice to know that after the lunch mess is cleaned up I can sit in the rocker, eyes closed and mind open to God and his Word.