Tuesday, March 08, 2011

In Lents Past

A list of some past sacrifices that proved fruitful for me:

  • I used to listen to a lot of music in the car. One year, I gave up listening to anything while traveling.  It led to more prayer time (we lived at least a half hour from everything at the time), more thinking time, and to being much more selective when I added some noise back into my travel time.
  • I used to own/wear a fair number of accessories. One year, I gave up wearing earrings. Doing so helped me focus on my vanity; it enlightened me regarding how much I thought about such things. (Caveat: I am not saying you are vain if you wear earrings, etc., etc. You may wear a tiara if you like. You know what I mean. This is my blog, so I get to talk all about me, me, me. This was about what I needed to do, not what I think anyone else should do.)  It was freeing to let go of thinking about what matched, what complemented, what added a finishing touch. After that Lent, I went back to wearing earrings, and I do wear a crucifix necklace, but I have to say I'm happy to be free of a revolving collection of bracelets, necklaces, and rings.
  • Last year it was coffee. Truly, God can and does work modern day miracles. 
  • I used to complain a lot. (Oops. I still complain a lot.) One year I gave up complaining. Every time I began to lapse into Complaint Mode, I instead prayed, "Lord, help me to serve without counting the cost." Huge eye-opener.  Huge. There are so many things to complain about in a day, aren't there? And it can be so much fun to complain about them. And to feel sorry for myself. And to zero in on everything that is wrong, rather than the many things that are right.  But instead of complaining, it's tremendously fruitful to give thanks for everything, even when those puny thank-yous sound feeble.


On this dreary, overcast Fat Tuesday, as I mull over gifts Lent has poured out on me in the past, and I wonder what undeserved grace Jesus has in store for me this time, I know that (although this is one of those years in which I've been wishing Lent would go away, as opposed to the years when I'm at fighting weight, and enter the Lenten ring swinging) I am grateful for penance and mortification, for tiny acts that humble me, for the reminder that God is God. I thank Him for the chance to work again toward my only real earthly goal: to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.


by G.K. Chesterton

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?


Kimberlee said...

Beautiful post! And may you have a blessed, fruitful Lent. AMDG

Karen E. said...

May yours be blessed and fruitful, too, Kimberlee!

Roxane B. Salonen said...


I'm looking forward to Lent. I just enjoyed my Fat Tuesday Almond Joy. I contemplated how difficult it's going to be to maintain the fast for the next weeks, while biting into that succulent treat. :)

Wishing you a beautiful Lenten experience, beyond your expectations!

Skysaw said...

Karen, enjoyed the Chesterton quote and the "complaining" commentary especially. May you and yours have a God-filled Lent!

tanita davis said...

What a beautiful little poem -- reminds me an old Margaret Becker song, Who Am I? wherein the writer wonders why she is so special.

Sarah said...

A blessed Lent to you, Karen.

Just had to let you know that I heard the very end of your radio interview last week ... I didn't even know it was you until the talk-show host (Shawn Harriet) said your name! It was very insightful, what I heard =)

Karen E. said...

Thanks, Sarah! I've had the chance to be on Relevant Radio about once a month lately, and I really enjoy it. Thanks to the rest of you, too, for weighing in on Lent. :)