Sunday, February 1, 2009

Waiting for Lent

I am an impatient person.

I listen to Christmas music every year from October 15th -31st, just because I can't actually wait 12 months for Christmas to come again. I can wait 10. Some years I cheat and also have a tiny Christmas in July.

I always want Spring to come in March. I live in Washington. Spring comes in May.

I always want Autumn to start in August. I live in Washington. August is the beginning (and end) of summer.

I typically am ready for dawn around 5:30. I live in Washington. For only 2 months of the year does dawn come at or before 5:30.

I don't care for red lights. This has nothing to do with living in Washington.

However, the most pertinent and reoccurring example is this: I am always ready for LENT.

I know this may sound weird, but Lent is my favorite. Always has been. Even before I was confirmed, I loved Lent. I think all year about what I will give up. I ponder what I will ponder, what new revelations of Christ I will understand. I hope and pray every year that Lent will be fabulous. Jesus has yet to let me down.

Some Lenten memories from years past:
1996 - My first year celebrating lent (that I remember). I gave up candy with my cousin Sara. I was 11.

2000- I gave up all media. This was also the year I began my tradition of fasting the three days before Easter. I love this tradition. This was the year Jesus taught me that obedience was better than emotion.

2001- Don't remember what I gave up. I do remember learning that my father loved the Lord. This was the first year I had a sin that I thought might actually send me to Hell if I didn't do something about it. This was the year I learned the pain of grace and the peace of forgiveness.

2002- This lent was a joyful lent, which is unusual for me. I love the grey of lent, but this lent was filled with joy in the knowledge of my Saviour's love.

2003- This lent I gave up negative thoughts and words. It was awful. :) I learned to shut my mouth a lot more. and I learned the power of thoughts and how possible it is to control them. This is also the year that I first considered a life of celibacy.

2004- This was a year of complete and utter brokenness. I didn't give anything up this year. I didn't have anything to give. I was dead inside. This was the year Jesus taught me life of soul. Life of community. This was the year I first learned that Jesus is powerful in the living arms of those around me. I learned that I could find His words in the mouths of those who loved Him.

2005- I gave up sugar. I learned the power of failure. This was the first year I attended an Ash Wednesday Service.

2006- This was the year I gave up vanity. No make up, no straightening my hair, no cute clothes... and I wore tennis shoes. I saw that I often loved people from a place of condescension. I loved them because I pitied them, not because they should be loved, not because I needed to love them... or they needed to be loved. I saw ugliness in my soul that I didn't know existed. I also found out that the gorgeous Christ still loved me.

2007- Probably my favorite Lent. The lent that I learned so so so so much. I gave away my TV and lived 40 days in silence in my apartment. Oh wonder of wonders. I had so much time with Jesus it was absolutely insane. I came to a day when I wept because I did not want Him to die for me. He could gladly die for the rest of the world, just not for me. A sweet whisper in my heart said this, "It is done." Oh how those words rent my soul. Those words are still my sweet love song from God. This is also the Lent I decided to join the Catholic Church all of the way through confirmation.

2008- This is the lent I spent going through the final steps of RCIA (rite of christian initiation for adults). This is the lent I gave my first confession. This is the lent where I anticipated the Body of Christ through the Eucharist. This was the lent where my heart finally came home.

Now I am waiting for the Lent of 2009. I don't know what I will give up. I don't know what I will learn. But February 25th could not come soon enough. I'm telling you, it is a beautiful time. I always want to live a monastic life whenever Lent is here.

Lent is a Christmas Miracle.

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