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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

40 letters in 40 days

I haven't been writing as many spirituality related posts lately, but today I'm writing about a yearly tradition I started to help me remember the season of Lent.  Lent is the forty day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter during which Christians prepare themselves through prayer, penance, sacrifice for the celebration of Easter.   

Last Lent, I started a tradition of writing forty handwritten notes/letters/cards every day for the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.  Growing up, my parents said it meant more to do something extra for other people rather than give something up for Lent.  Their thought was that God really didn't care if I didn't eat chocolate for forty days, and it wasn't doing anything to help anyone else.  I hope they were right, because a God that supports abstinence from chocolate doesn't sound like a God that I'd like to spend time in Heaven with. 

Though I understand the need for sacrifice and abstinence in some situations - and can see a lot of beauty in fasting traditions in various religions - self-inflicted suffering just doesn't say spritual growth for me.  Regular life can already have enough challenges without feeling like you need to suffer to be closer to God.  Especially during this winter.   (With this being said, I can see how cutting something negative/draining/harmful out of your life could still be a good thing, I just won't be taking that approach to Lent this year.) 

So instead, this Lent I'll continue my tradition of taking time everyday to remember someone I love.  I see God in my relationships with others, so I will work on strengthening these.  40 letters in 40 days, 40 chances to show someone I care about them.  Changing my approach to Lent helps me shift my understanding of this season to one of love and rememberance rather than a time of pain, suffering, and sadness.  

If you recognize Lent, what do you do for the forty days?

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