Forty Days

For those that aren’t Catholic, or just don’t care, yesterday was Ash Wednesday. That marks the first day of Lent, ending on Easter Sunday. Lent is an old tradition, symbolizing purity and reflection, leading up to renewal or rebirth into Catholicism and unto God. Typically, this is demonstrated by sacrificing something you love during this period in order to renew your faith in God when Jesus was reborn (Easter Sunday).

Since I was a little girl and my parents made me, I’ve given up something for Lent. It’s not always easy, but I’m always glad I did it. I’ve given up pop, sweets, chocolate, candy, sugar, fast food, drinking, swearing, shopping, you name it. Last night, I was sitting on my couch and thinking about what I was going to give up this year.

Then, I ran into a problem. I don’t really have anything left to give up. I don’t each much junk food, I rarely shop, I don’t swear, I barely drink, I can’t afford to eat out, I mostly drink water, I’ve achieved much more moderation in my life the last couple years. What’s left? TV? Movies? Reading?

Yeah, sure, I could give up those. And it would be a sacrifice. But the point is purification. Those things aren’t truly bad for me, nor do they keep me from being closer to God. So, what’s left?

I honestly didn’t know. I fell asleep last night, still thinking about it. This morning, I did what I do best. Research. I looked at blogs and articles for inspiration. Maybe there was something I hadn’t considered…

Then I saw it.

A comment on a post by a  woman with a quandary similar to mine. She didn’t think giving something up for the sake of giving something up was productive. So she chose to go a different route. And I am copying her.

For the duration of Lent, until Easter, I will choose to celebrate God and reflection by writing. Each day (except Sundays, which are Lenten exempt) I will write a letter to a person I love and am thankful for. A single letter to show my love and gratitude for the gifts I have been given. This will be my Lenten celebration.

We begin today.

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