Observing Lent

Lent as a time for meditation

I don’t really know too much about Lent. We never observed it when I was growing up, and although I knew it was that period right before Easter, I didn’t really even know how long it was until pretty recently. My in-laws observe Lent, and I think my brother’s family does, and I’ve even tried it once, in the traditional way.

We were visiting my in-laws one year during the beginning of Lent, and my father-in-law was giving up “all the stuff he loved” meaning desserts and sweets. I felt like I’d been eating a lot of desserts lately, and on a whim decided I’d follow suit, having no idea how long Lent was. I was shocked and horrified to find out that I’d committed to 40 days. 40 days!?! In the end, it didn’t really matter, because my dessert-loving father-in-law had a favorite bakery on his morning circuit, and since he wasn’t eating them, brought a pastry home for me. My good intentions lasted just over (or maybe just under, I forget) 24 hours.

But, 40 days is a good number of days to challenge yourself with – long but not eternal, so I thought that maybe this year I would try again to do something for Lent. I’m going to try to publish a blog post each day for the duration of Lent.

But that’s not giving something up

For one, I still don’t really understand why you have to give things up for Lent. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert resisting the temptations of the devil, Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai with God before getting the 10 commandments, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights on Noah’s Ark, but the only thing that happened right before Easter, was that it is said that Christ was in his tomb for 40 hours. Hours not days. Past performance aside, I think I could give up dessert for 40 hours before Easter. Probably.

Second, I am giving something up. Several things, in fact. I’m giving up all those things that I could have been doing when I wasn’t writing a blog post.

Third, I think that blogging is a good way to prepare for and celebrate the coming of new life in the spring-time, whatever your religious tendencies. Just as practicing to be a photographer subtly changes your view of the world, I’m hoping that disciplined blogging will lead to a new perspective or insight – maybe a new pattern of looking at and relating to the world.

We’ll see. I didn’t get very far in my last attempt.