Today is Ash Wednesday.
It is the beginning of, arguably, the most important season of the Catholic Church.
Ash Wednesday begins Lent, which is the 40 days before the Easter season begins. It is a time that is meant for reflection: of ourselves, of Jesus’ journey, of God’s sacrifice.
Traditionally, Catholics are supposed to give something up for Lent. As a child, I often gave up candy or fighting with my brothers or sister. Being older, it is harder to figure out what to give up.
It is harder because, as an adult, I don’t like to temporarily give something up. I would rather make a conscious effort to change something rather than give it up for a short period of time.
Much like with Valentine’s Day, the magic of Ash Wednesday and Lent, has disappeared. I no longer feel excited to give something up and it doesn’t help me to connect to my religion like it should.
So, instead for Lent this year, I am going to make a decision to connect with myself. I believe that in order to move forward and reconnect with religion in a way that is meaningful to me, I need to reconnect with myself and what I need and want out of life.
So, this Lent, I will not be strict about what I am eating (today, Fridays, throughout this period). This Lent, I will not give up a fruitless endeavor that come Easter I will pick back up and possibly partake in even more because I have given it up.
This Lent, I will focus on me. I will focus on where I want to be and what I want to do with my life. This Lent, I will focus on a project for myself: a project that will put me further on the path that I need to be on.
I probably should have figured this out already, but I haven’t and now, I am not sure exactly what the project will be. But I will make it happen.
And, in that connection, I will make my purpose more known to me. I will travel on a journey – similar to Jesus – that will not be easy, but will help me fulfill my purpose.
Does your religion celebrate Lent? If so, do you give something up for Lent? What? If not, how do you relate to this?