Lent. It is here again. I’ve always struggled through Lent. Through no real fault of my own. I’ve given up a veritable cornucopia of foods for Lent in the past. I’ve taken on new disciplines – meditation, prayer. Each year to feel more and more downtrodden as the forty days trudged by in never ending blah-dom. Maybe the darkness of winter simply can’t dissipate fast enough. Once the days begin to stretch toward the Spring Solstice and slowly inch on toward the languid days of summer, my southern sensibilities become anxious for the warmth I know is coming. Maybe homeschooling has worn me down and I’m in need of an infusion of pedagogical excitement to see me through to the end of another academic year. “Never make any important decisions in February,” another homeschooling mother sagely chides.
But last year was different. Last year, for Lent, I wrote. Every day. I sent my writing to two other women. I was blessed by their responses much more than they can imagine. I had spent years enduring Lent alone. 40 days in the desert. 40 years in the wilderness. Alone. But last year was different. I spent Lent in community last year. And that made all the difference! I arrived at Easter refreshed, invigorated, expectant, joyful – prepared for a true resurrection experience.
After Easter last year, I shared with another friend about my experiment in communal Lenten devotion. He asked if I had considered something more public. A blog, perhaps. Honestly, I told him, the thought had occurred to me and I had dismissed it. “Why would anyone want to read it?” I had reasoned. But my friend astutely said, “too vulnerable,” nodding knowingly about the fears bundled up in writing for a more public audience. I now think my hesitancy is a little bit of both, astonishment that my words could hold such meaning for others and a correlating fear that they will not. I’ve often seen the saying “Dance like no one is watching!” but I’ve never seen one that says “Write like no one is reading!”
So, here I am. Another Lent. And I am inviting you all on the journey with me.