Today is April 7th. Two days after Easter. So it’s about time I got around to participating in Lent.
I mean, sure; Lent is the 40 days before Easter. And yes; that means it’s already over. But I don’t think that’s a very good reason for not participating, do you? Especially because Lent is a good idea. I like Lent. And I seriously meant to do Lent this year. I did. I meant to participate the heck out of Lent. But Lent showed up on time like it always does, making those of us who are tardy for the party look procrastinate-y instead of fashionably late. In other words, ugh.
Now, I realize not all of you are familiar with Lent or the High Church Calendar or any of those Strange Christian Things I talk about from time to time. I deconstructed Lent once here, which includes why I care about it and why I’m taking up all this space to talk about it again:
According to Google, which we all know is the very best place to get religious information, “Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection.”
Lent starts today and continues for the 40 days (not including Sundays) until Easter. In practice here in the States, it’s the time when each participant fasts from something specific to himself or herself. Facebook, traveling by car, mojitos, nachos bell grande – the more creative you are about what you give up, the more Lent points you’re awarded. Minus the part about Lent points, which aren’t a real thing but which would totally make it WAY MORE RAD.
The truth is, Jesusy people in America freestyle when it comes to Lent. We like to participate for loads of reasons. Sometimes to feel closer to God, sometimes as a spiritual discipline, sometimes to draw attention to a cause, and sometimes because our best friends in the whole entire world, Caffeine and Chocolate, come to us in our dreams dressed in red riding hood cloaks with cloven hooves and horns on their heads and tell us with maniacal grins that they own our souls, and we wake up screaming and sweating and longing for big cups o’ Joe and entire bags of Hershey’s nuggets. Lent – it’s a high church synonym for Caffeine and Chocolate Rehab.
At its center, though, Lent, like other cultural and religious observances, pulls us into community with each other and ties us with thick cords to our historical roots. It makes us stop for a season to reconsider who we are at our core. It forces us away from the insignificant things that entangle us and turns our eyes to examine what’s relevant, what drives us.
At its best, Lent isn’t about deprivation. At its best, Lent allows us to work in concert with Love to refill our souls.
At its best, Lent allows us to work in concert with Love to refill our souls. And I missed it. I miss it.
So I was a little bit mopey about not Lenting this year. I’ve just been busy, man. My dad had open heart surgery the same week our kitchen flooded. OF COURSE IT DID. The water mitigation people came. Our floors are still ripped up. Wheeeeee!
And even with everything else going on — surgery and work and water and the occasional full-family bout with incessant, vomittous flu — my kids still wanted things like attention and dinner. Lent just blew by, in other words, and now here I am, Lentless.
Lentless in a season when my soul could’ve used a little refill.
Lentless in a season when I suspect our community could’ve used an infusion of Love and a little reminder that Love pursues us.
Lentless when I wanted to be Preparing for Rebirth.
That’s when I stopped.
That’s when I decided to break the rules.
That’s when I decided to ReLent.
ReLent, which means “To Lent Again” (OBVIOUSLY), and is for those of us who forgot to Lent the first time.
It’s Lent for procrastinators.
Lent for the wildly busy.
Lent for the forgetful.
Lent for the chronically behind.
ReLent: Lent with GRACE for Imperfection. Lent for People Who Need Second Chances.
Because, honest to God, if I never did anything I’m behind on – anything I’m late for – I’d never do anything at all. I am behind on All the Things, after all. Always. Always behind. Which, whatever. Just whatever, friends, you know? WHATEVER. I am behind on All the Things, and so I shall do Some Things and not Other Things, and that will be Enough. Which is one of the miracles of life, after all, and of motherhood; that we cannot do All the Things, and so we do Some of the Things and we learn they are Enough, and we are Enough, and we are, in the midst of it all, wildly worthy of Love.
So. Here is what we shall do to celebrate ReLent:
1. We will take the next 23 days — until the end of April — to celebrate ReLent. Yes, I know Lent is 40 days, but that is LENT. This is RELENT for the wildly busy, and we are not going to string this out. THIS IS OUR GIFT TO US. Twenty-three days. Can we build it? YES, WE CAN.
2. We shall answer three critical questions:
- What is actually relevant to you and what drives you?
- What entangles you or distracts you from what’s relevant?
- What is one entanglement you will release — for 23 days?
3. We will work in concert with Love to refill our souls. I mean – we will really LISTEN to Love loving us, and we will be open to receiving that.
You, of course, are invited to join me for ReLent. I’m going to answer those three questions below, and I’d love it — if you’d like to participate with me — if you’d answer them in the comments section as an encouragement to our ReLent group and so we can do this together. Here goes:
- What is actually relevant to you and what drives you? Spreading Love. Sending Hope. Helping my fellow momrades and dad-rads and rad people of every variety know we are not alone in the dark and that dawn is coming. Already on its way.
- What entangles you or distracts you from what’s relevant? I clam up sometimes, and I’ve been in a season of clamming, uncertain my words are compelling or even relevant. I worry, still, even at this stage of my life when I’ve learned to love much about myself, about being Too Much. Too Loud. Too Big. Too Irreverent. Too Jesusy. Too ME. And so I sit quietly in this space because I’m afraid of blabbing too much and being irrelevant and laughable.
- What is one entanglement you will release — for 23 days? I choose to release worries about being Too Me. So I will put my butt in my chair and I will write to you every day for 23 days. Some of it will be drivel, and I will publish it anyway, believing that this discipline — this ReLenting to be fully who Love made me to be — isn’t just OK or Enough… it’s where Love calls me.
So, friends, what do you say?
ReLent with me?
Sending love… always, always,
P.S. Just to be clear, ReLent is also for those of you who already Lented and want a do-over or a repeat, because we are a radically open community here, and we welcome everyone, even you overachievers who do things on time and are Pinteresty and stuff. Love to you, TOO.