Here comes Lent, a word coming from the German, meaning "springtime." It's good to know what the heck we are getting in for, as in--you may think it's about springtime, but it is way, way more than that.
I have trouble with Lent. I rebel against giving up anything, except colonoscopies and visiting my oncologist. I want an endless stream of goodies from Amazon.com arriving in my "Santa Box" at the foot of our drive, or, as I sometimes call it, "My Prize Box." When you have chemo Brain I suspect we travel far back to the reptilian brain, that squishy part of our head which pops out moods, feelings, and desires. I'm down with moods, feelings, and desires, as in--I want, I need, last year was the pits, I still need bandages over the cancer wound.
But I need to do more than just vibrate with wanting. How can I honor Lent in a way that is hopeful but not full of scratchy deprivation? What can I give up and what can I give out?
--Giving up fasting this year. At the age of 71 I am released from this directive from the Catholic Church. I'm not sure what it says about feasting on chocolate and wine, but I'm guessing those are good things to give up. Sigh.
--I am giving up fear. It is a thorny companion and does me no good at all. With this current administration and my own somewhat wonky health, fear has taken up far too much room in the head, heart, and body. I am going to meditate, then picture balling all of this fear in my hands and giving it over into the hands of Jesus.
--I am going to give up controlling others. How often do I do this with my fabulous husband, pointing out parking spaces, telling him to turn left NOW, and more? And for why?
But what about giving out, like that woman in the Gospels who scooped expensive unguent from a jar to anoint Jesus?
--Keep donating to the ACLU which does so much for people currently threatened by this administration. I can't attend town meetings to protest our government, but giving money helps.
--Donate monthly to the Sierra Club, because our government wants to do away with the EPA and seemingly does not believe in Climate Change. (Could it have anything to do with unregulated business and raking in the cash?)
--Keep bringing diapers and food to the Survival Center. They need it.
--At Mass, practice my "Ministry of Kindly Chat" and reach out to people I've never spoken to before. We are meant to be a community of believers!
--Persist in writing my blogs and telling the truth about our country.
--Be a Trans-ally. This is especially important now, as protections for trans folks are being stripped away, and as the parent of a trans young adult, I need to do more.
--Elect to walk as a healing companion to people who are facing cancer again--you know who you are. And walk with their loved ones who face their own demons. You know who you are.
All right. I am getting breathless and feel as if I might have to make a strong cup of cappuccino with chocolate grated on top. Then lie down and read trash, because, the good news is--IT'S NOT LENT YET!