Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Give up or do more.... choices at the start of Lent

I'm not quite a full day into the season of Lent and already I wonder what have I gotten myself into.  My husband Mark and I have spent the last few days trying to explain to our eldest two (who noted that yesterday was their 6 and 1/2 month birthday!), the purpose and meaning of the season of Lent for Christians. 

Here's how some of the discussions went:

Dad: "Joe, what do you think you 'd like to give up for Lent?"

Joe: "I've been thinking about it alot, Dad.  I think I'm going to give up homework."

{after a bit of discussion Joe came to understand you are meant to give up something you LIKE... so homework will get done, but we're opting out of using our Razor scooter}

Mom: "Sarah, what do you think you 'd like to give up for Lent?"

Sarah: "Well ...(long pause) ....maybe you could give up yelling and I could give up being disobedient?"

Interesting that my children are not really so different than me.  I'd rather give up something I perceive to be unpleasant (like Joe with homework) or make a barter with God - a quid pro quo - (like Sarah with me - scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!).  My own personal  quid pro quo these days would be "God, if you can stop our 3 year old from coming into our bed every night, I'll do anything!".   But it is clearer and clearer to me that this isn't the type of Lent I'm meant to live.

I had always learned as a child that Lent was for giving something up.  As an adult, people began to speak with me about doing something more as a way to show my love for God - to draw myself out of my more selfish nature.  I wonder if with its non scientific poll will ask if folks will opt to do something more?

So I spent today wondering and thinking... what to do... or give up....  and I finally settled on a few things. 

First - a lenten vacation from Facebook.  I followed the lead of a few friends who are signing off until Easter dawns.  I've been happily surprised that I can still breathe in and out without checking status updates on an hourly basis.  (Of course as I type I just realized.... in order to post blog entry to FB, I may have to log on to FB....). 

Second, to not listen to the radio in the car during my commute to work.  I readily admit to being a little addicted to WCBS880 and the traffic reports every 10 minutes.  Seems a silly thing but it is actually a two for one.  By having silence in the car, there's more chance I'll pray.  Work in a daily dialogue with God. The irony is not lost on me, when I think of how noisy my life is day to day - 6 young ones can make quite a racket - that I don't think to do this year round.  Let's hope it becomes a habit which sticks through Easter and beyond  - heck let's hope the desire on Sarah's part to be obedient sticks too! 

On the "Do More" front... I think I have wait to see what God puts before me.  I do know this.... what I need to "do more" often is to be patient. 

I couldn't help but think today of  a great little scene from the movie Evan Almighty.  Maybe I'm just too much of a Morgan Freeman fan... but everytime I think of this scene it makes me reflect - even it the midst of my hectic days - what God has offered me and my husband.  Many daily opportunities to love - and those opportunities have names  - Joseph, Sarah, John Paul, Catherine, Patrick and Simon.  And they'll learn about God's love for them through me.  A great starting point for praying in the silence of my minivan this Lent.

No comments:

Post a Comment