and no I don’t mean the cartoon. This Lent already has given me a beautiful gift and a deep reminder of why we practice. Yes, we enter into the desert with Jesus for 40 days of fasting and temptation. I know I become keenly aware of chocolate when I give it up for any period of time. I have to remind myself that I’ve given up chocolate (I haven’t this year it’s just something that would make me keenly aware of the sacrifice.) What I often do when presented with chocolate is that “I can’t have chocolate, I’ve given it up” and leave it at that. What I want to do is, what this sacrifice is meant to call me to is offer an opportunity to go further: a moment in prayer for someone who needs it; a gift of some kind to a charitable cause; a loving action towards someone who is momentarily challenging.
And this morning as I responded to something else the words, “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health, til death do we part” came to mind. I started thinking about our vows as married couples. We make a public declaration of self-sacrifice when we say this. We’re saying, “Yes, I will make sacrifices With and For” this person. And yes, sometimes I will have to fully sacrifice myself for this person. That’s scary beautiful. It’s so amazingly intimate and yes, it’s holy. (Now let’s be clear I’m NOT speaking of physical or psychological abuse that’s an evil that needs to be ended and is grounds for divorce and annulment.)
This sacrifice is on-going, daily. Sometimes celebrating with your spouse even though it’s rather painful for you. Sometimes it’s holding hands through the death of a parent – stepping back and supporting your spouse by keeping quiet. Sometimes it’s supporting your spouse through the loss of a job and not completely freaking out. Sometimes it’s letting this person be who they are and not who you imagine/want/dream of them being. It’s appreciating your spouse. Yes this is daily and sometimes it’s a sacrifice because I’d rather go in another direction entirely.
Lent is a reminder of this. Let is a reminder that sacrifice is a good and holy experience. That the sacrifice that we make here takes us further, it’s not just a one time, short-lived, done and over event.
Have a good Lent!