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.
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.
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.
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,