I didn’t mean to give up blogging for Lent, honest. It just worked out that way.
I thought about giving up something big for Lent, even though the whole concept of the liturgical calendar is pretty much the opposite of the fiercely independent Baptist tradition I come from. (Liturgy? We don’t need no steenkeen liturgy!) And, come to think of it, it’s probably not what you’d call a standard element of Quaker faith either, what with the pointed lack of symbols, rituals, and creeds.
I still feel a need for it, though – that sense of community that comes from knowing that a whole bunch of other Christians are doing this thing, at this time. Granted, Lent looks really different, depending on who’s celebrating it – and that probably means quite a few of them are doing it right. It ought to be individual, and play out differently in the faith journeys of different people. Some people loudly and theatrically give up chocolate. Some of the more traditional folks grumble and mumble and give up meat, while their more modern-minded cousins give up their favorite iPhone apps. And you can always find a few students who want to give up homework for Lent. (This rarely works.)
I thought about giving something up, thinking spiritual thoughts, and blogging about it, as many people seem to be doing these days. I have loved reading their thoughts, but when I thought about doing the same thing here, all I could think of was that pesky verse about praying on the street corner in a loud voice. For me, getting all holy and blogging about it was going to be the spiritual equivalent of standing at the corner of State and Commercial and hollering about what an awesome Christian I am. Thankfully for my blog and the state of my soul, I frankly didn’t have the energy.
So I gave something else up. It wasn’t this blog – that hiatus had more to do with several weeks’ worth of insane music schedule followed closely by a respiratory virus from the lowest pits of hell and a stomach bug which I will not gross you out by describing. (You’re welcome.) Instead, I gave up something small and silly that would register about a 0.001 on the Richter Scale of Sacrifice. I did not have deep and holy thoughts about it, or at least not very many. But I stuck with it, and every few days I thought, “Hey, it’s been a while since I … oh, yeah. Lent.” And I did think, “Jesus did a lot more than this. That is pretty awesome.” But that was pretty much it. I didn’t have epiphanies or decide to give 50% of my income to the poor. I just remembered, now and then, and I was thankful.
And really, that’s the point, isn’t it? So maybe my observation of Lent was on a tiny, tiny scale. Maybe next year I’ll give up something a little bigger, a little less silly. Maybe the year after that, I’ll be a better person and I can write about it. Maybe those thoughts will bless others, and turn around and bless me all over again in the process of putting them into words. But for now, I am just going to smile, close the door for today on my little metaphorical prayer closet, and try to keep that mental habit going:
“Hey, Jesus. Thanks. I haven’t forgotten.”