Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday February 11, 2016
Ash Wednesday
from Pinterest

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent. I’m not Catholic, and I’m not really Protestant either. But for the last 2 years, I’ve observed Lent in a way that works for me.

3 years ago, Magda told me about how her church in New York observes Lent. They pray purposefully. The main gist of it is that you choose 6 people on the periphery of your life that you pray for the whole 40 days. You pray for a Big Ask for yourself and a Big Ask for your community.

This year, the new church in Ann Arbor tweaked the ritual and made it their own, but it is still the essential 6 +1 +1, and I am participating, like I did last year.

Last year I thought I’d write in a journal every day and that would help me to stay focused and establish a routine, but about 15 days into the activity, my journaling tapered off. Instead of beating myself up about it, I accepted that I wasn’t the type of person who journals every day. Even though I pray every day, I just don’t have that focus to sit and write the short page. That’s why I only update this space when the mood strikes me. When I have something to say.

Lent for me last year was a time of spiritual connection and of giving back. I prayed for people I only knew in passing. I have no idea if my prayers did anything for them, but that doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I gave. I was thankful, I asked and listened and I gave.

This carried over into Ramadan for me as well. Ramadan and Lent are so similar to me that I thought I’d work on observing them the same way. For me, since I’m not Muslim, I don’t fast. This Leap of Faith ritual gives me something spiritual to do in addition to taking care of my family. I felt a deepening spiritual connection, and a renewed spirit. Similar to how we feel on Easter.

This year, Blue Ocean Faith church has added a tactile element to the Lenten Experience in the form of beads. I’m really excited about this addition because I am a tactile person. I learn by doing and my love language is touch. When Magda shared with us the new documents detailing the Leap of Faith for this Lent, she also shared with us a picture of her beads. They remind me of a cross between tasbeeh beads that Muslims use and rosary beads that Catholics use to keep track of their prayers.

Magda's Beads
Magda’s Beads

Tuesday night I went through my jewelry stash, looking for charms and beads that spoke to me. I gathered up the 8 special pieces and the 40 beads that signify the 40 days of Lent. Last night, as I sat at the table with my people while they finished their homework, I strung my beads. They have been with me, within touching distance, ever since. I touch the smooth surfaces and they urge me to take a moment and pray.

Lent beads
my Beads

Right now I have identified 2 of my 6 people. Their names came to me as I was assembling my bead strand last night. I knew my Big Ask before I began. Since I don’t have a church community, I will focus on a Big Ask for my family as a whole. The rest of the names will come to me as I focus on praying.

I might do some journaling so I can write down my Names and Big Ask for future reference. Its good to be able to look back in 6 months to see if there was any movement because of my prayer.

If you observe Lent, may your 40 days be marked with a deep spiritual connection, growth and peace.

Until next time,

Kristina

"I have no knowledge of the Bahai faith."

My Journey with The Story of ..."
"What does this comment have to do with my experience? Mr. Freeman's personal beliefs did ..."

My Journey with The Story of ..."
"Hi! I would love to get in touch with you regarding the situation I am ..."

This Weekend’s Featured author on AltMuslim
"delete Kristina ElSayed MyIslamicLife.Com"

Reader Questions: Dating an Algerian Man

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Muslim
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment