It’s true, I love Lent.
I may be a lapsed Catholic, but I love Lent. 40 days of reflection, re-evaluation, repentance and reconciliation – who can argue with that not being important? As with most religious seasons, take out a deity, and the natural timing still makes sense. Why not “clean house” internally and externally when coming out of the dark clutches of winter and into the joys of spring?
So why do I love it? Let’s break down those four Rs:
Reflection. We are a couple of months into the year at this point. How are those resolutions? For me, with the January birthday, how are my yearly goals? How are things, in general? Relationships? Career? Finances?
Re-evaluation. Okay, so maybe things aren’t perfect. No sweat. What needs to get done? Where should I shift my focus? Have other priorities bubbled up? Time to a check in.
Repentance. I think this is where a lot of people get hung up. The word certainly conjures up images of self-flagellation or hair shirt-donning, or maybe just nuns whacking 1950s schoolchildren with rulers. But is it really that terrible to “feel or express sincere remorse about one’s wrongdoing”? Take that loaded, religious word “sin” out of it and we’re still not perfect people. We all fuck up (ha, that should be the Catholic Church’s new marketing campaign). Why not use the 40 days of Lent to right some of those wrongs? What wrongdoings have sincerely stressed you out? What can you do to remedy those?
Reconciliation. Just like “reflection & re-evaluation” go together, so do repentance and reconciliation. Whether its reconciling a wrongdoing within your own self/process or patching things up with a family member, friend, partner or co-worker, this is the positive part of repenting. Who wants bad energy and grudges out there? And I totally acknowledge that some relationships are irreparable. But use this time to recognize those too and move on to a healthier stage.
Speaking of reflection, as it happens, my second-to-last day in Milwaukee was Ash Wednesday and I actually maintained this blog for 40 consecutive days when I first moved to San Francisco. Keeping those four “Rs” in mind, I going to try to post something here daily on one of those four themes. I’m also giving up hard alcohol and holding in things that are stressing me out. And meditating on it all. Wish me luck.