Today is Ash Wednesday, and all throughout the blogosphere, people are writing about their Lenten sacrifices. I’ve decided to give Lent a try this year, but for today’s post, what I’m giving up is not as important as what I’m incorporating.
I’ve been fairly negative about religion for much of my adult life. I thought I’d make an effort to be positive about it for a change. And since, by proxy with K, the religion I know best is Christianity, specifically Catholicism, I thought I’d embark on a daily posting schedule throughout Lent focusing on the positive things I see in Catholicism. Forty days, forty things I like — even love — about it.
The logical place to start is Lent.
The act of giving up something, of making a lengthy sacrifice in one’s convenience, seems nothing but healthy. We tend to get stuck in routines, habits, and even addictions, and to take some time each year to break out of those confines forces us to look at our life from a new perspective. It highlights how some things have become so habitual that we’re only aware of them through their absence.
Lent necessitates deliberation. Imagine, for example, that one decides to give up sugar. This is a monumental undertaking in today’s processed-food world, for there’s sugar in everything unless you buy and make it fresh. Imagine that one sacrifices caffeine. Morning and afternoon habits must disappear.
Lent simply forces awareness, and in our technologically numbed culture, I can think of few things more valuable.