Lent: A Time of Reflection

Reflection of Dark & Light

                                                  Reflection of Dark & Light

During this Christian time of Lent, leading up to one of the two foundational events of our faith, it has been customary to sacrifice something. To give up something for lent – like dessert, or television, or Facebook. I was never able to get into this ritual because — I don’t know, maybe for a lot of reasons.

I saw people do it for the wrong reasons (I need to lose weight so I’ll give up sugar), or because the church said we should (I was never one for blind obedience if it didn’t have personal meaning), or to demonstrate piety (my interpretation of scripture leads me to private piety). Maybe it was because I spent the first half of my life, 50 years, living without because there wasn’t much or because children’s needs came first. I didn’t feel deprived or bitter, it is the way life is. But I sacrificed for 365 days a year, I didn’t see the point of heaping on more self-sacrifice.

There is no longer a need for self-sacrifice in my life, but I still have a hard time getting into the “giving something up for Lent.” This year is different. I have been influenced by several different people, writings from both the living and the dead. A few words here, an idea there. All small, but together they have become a nagging voice I can’t ignore. I usually consider this Divine Intervention. This year I need to do something for Lent.

This chorus of voices has led me to “give up something for Lent;” did you pick up the difference in wording? I am “giving up” that which is most important to my sense of self and my place in the world. I am giving out and raising up my voice, my ability to think and write and photograph the beauty of creation. I am going to speak out as a means of spiritual self-reflection and sharing my thoughts on what makes for spiritual wellness.

If you don’t define yourself as a Christian, don’t hit that unfollow button. My purpose isn’t to bring people to Christianity, especially if your faith is working for you. My purpose is to share with you how my faith informs my living. My purpose is to stimulate your thoughts, spark a little fire in you, so you will join me in posting from your faith perspective. How  wonderful it would be if we all linked together to create greater ideas, deeper faith, more hope, more compassionate living. One person at a time, in unison.

I need structure if I am going to be consistent and follow through so I have chosen the Biblical book of Galatians and the text defining the Fruit of the Spirit. I can’t pick and choose because fruit is singular – a package deal. I will cover all of them, one or two a week. This will take me past Easter but no sweat. My spiritual journey doesn’t end at Easter – it is only the beginning.

My spiritual self-reflections will cover the Fruit of Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-Control. I will write on each one individually, but not separate them because each probably lacks integrity without the others. I hope you will look forward to hearing my thoughts on Love and as you anticipate, I hope you will reflect on what your world view believes about love and how it is reflected in your life. I think I will also need to think about what the lack of love means.

Endnote: My thinking has been influenced by books I have been reading, but the blog that has moved me the most has been the Bardo Group. If you are not already reading their contributions, you might want to check them out.

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15 Comments »

    • The nature of cypress trees made these reflections really unique – and I haven’t been sure I wanted to use this photo. But I think it works here. Thanks for the visit.

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  1. This is really such a beautiful post, Pat, ad so perfect for the season.

    Like you, I was never into the “giving something up.” I read a post recently (wish I could remember where!), that talked about not giving something up, but adding something, like a bit of extra kindness to others. I like that.

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  2. Unfollow button NOT hit 🙂

    I used to know people who gave up chocolate for Lent and were convinced they were really really suffering for their beliefs. Having fasted for 30 days straight every year for a decade, with no food or water, gum or anything from around 4am right through until after 8.30pm at night, in temperatures of 110-115 all day and no air con…. I kinda wonder at the chocolate bit 🙂

    Each to their own is my philosophy in fife, as you might have guessed from own writings. I dont go into politics or religion on my blog but have sadly seen first hand how many folk just can’t handle the fact that we are not all the same. Many so called ‘friends’ ostracised me, still do, even some family members – hey ho, it’s a sad tale of humanity in many ways.

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    • I agree with you Spike. Judgement from people who are more “holy” breaks my heart. I have a friend who is transgender and decided he couldn’t live unless he lived as a she. Her and her wife were asked by their church leaders to leave. I cried. She lost a lot of friends and her job. She sacrifice so much for her integrity. But then, what you may not be able to understand is that our female brains really do need chocolate. 😀

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      • Haha, very true. My wife can fast without water for 16 hours, but chocolate is her pain… Me, I give up all caffeine and chocolate for 2 weeks prior to fasting; cuts down he headaches by 90% 😀

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  3. In my younger years I used to give up something for Lent. Then later in life a friend mentioned that they “give to” something, whether it be a charity, doing service work, helping someone in need etc. I liked that because the focus was on others. I look forward to your thoughts over the weeks to come

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    • What a great idea, Nora. I think there should be a purpose, some good to whatever we decide to do. I especially like when there is enough tolerance that people can do what is meaningful for them. Nice to hear from you. 🙂

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  4. What an amazing speaking photo!!!! Pat, thanx for living, doing and blogging from the deapest bottom of you heart and soul ….. this meant such a lot to me… your blogging is speaking to me… being cronically ill tired and not up-and-around like every one around you, ….has its toll but surely make us to look much deeper inside, wider outside and more focused to see and experience meaningfull life and love.

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    • It makes me so happy to know that my photo and writing touched you. I feel blessed that I have a talent that I have been able to use to help me pace myself. I blog a little and then work a little. Thank you for visiting and for your very nice comment. 🙂

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