I’m one of those wacky people who loves Lent. As the calendar hits mid to late February, my liturgical memory kicks in and I start to sing the refrains to the Great Litany: “Good Lord, deliver us, ” Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us,” O Christ, hear us…”
I wish the entire year were divided into 40-day segments, each with a specific spiritual task assigned to it. During Lent the task is repentance–a turning away from the things that keep us from God and a turning toward those things that draw us near to God. During Lent I don’t feel I need to apologize for saying “No” to certain habits or “Yes” to certain prayer and fasting practices. If I can add or subtract something from my life for forty days, maybe I will make the U-turn I need. The 40-day structure is the rehearsal period for the way I want to behave on the other 325 days of the year.
This year for Lent I have committed to three subtractions and additions:
1. (-) Saying “No” to computer Scrabble. I spend far too many minutes of the day looking for ways to use all seven letters on my rack and to find places on the board for “oe” and “qi.” Computer Scrabble is a terrific game, but my allegiance to it is just a little askew.
2) (-) Resisting conversations (even in my head) about weight and age (mine or anyone else’s).
3) (+) Praying/drawing with a daily Lenten calendar using the many names for God.
I write these things not because I feel righteous about “observing a Holy Lent” but for accountability. If I say them out loud to a community, I might just do them.