It was Ash Wednesday yesterday. The first day of Lent. Two and a half weeks ago I have every intention of observing Lent this year, but with everything that’s happened since it’s snuck up on me, and I only remembered after 3 cups of strong coffee and half a dozen squares of Dark Ghana chocolate (the things I was considering fasting from).
I’m still undecided whether I actually want to fast this year or not. In some ways I think it might do me some good, help me re-connect to some spiritual disciplines that have got a tad disrupted. The whole point of fasting is that it’s of spiritual benefit, and perhaps that will be part of the process of my emotional restoration.
I wrote last year about wanting to find a way deeper into my faith. I felt at that time that I was just skimming the surface, going through the motions of prayer and Bible reading. I’d been finding that the desire to go deeper doesn’t easily translate to actually achieving it. I was still just working though my routines of Bible reading, prayer and worship, but not making that deeper connection I was hoping for.
In the last 16 days I’ve found a deeper place within me. It’s a place that grieves beyond words, where emotions are so raw I haven’t been able to pray, I could only cry. I can carry on with daily survival and living, and appear to be “normal”. But beneath that surface is this broken and wounded soul, that I can’t even find the words to describe. And I suspect that many of the people around me are feeling something similar.
So I think I will give Lent a go this year, even if I do start two days late. It’s not just about giving up something for 40 days, it’s about making that effort to reconnect to my faith, to pick up my Bible again, to resume my daily prayers. I think of Lent as a time for reflection, especially about Easter, about the sacrifice that Christ made for us. It’s a time for self examination, for repentance and a refocusing on what’s really important in the “big picture” of life. And above all, the story of Easter is the story of God bringing restoration to humanity, which is something I want to spend some time on. I’m going to try to use my experiences of the last few weeks, to incorporate them into what my faith means to me. I’ll let you know how I get on.