This is my New Year's Eve. The day where I prepare myself for a new beginning, resolutions firm in my mind and heart, and last ditch indulgences abound (In hindsight, barbequing a whole chicken a day before going vegetarian for over 40 days was a lapse in judgement, but you live and learn).
Lent is something I have always "celebrated" but never understood or truly cared about until last year. When I was young it was a time to give up soda or candy bars for a couple months, for some never discussed church-y reason. When I was older and not in Christian school, it was something I rarely knew was going until some friend or another mentioned their fasting from (insert delicious food/beverage item or cigarettes here).
Last year was different though. Lent was the final 40 (non-Sunday) days of my preparation for becoming Catholic. Getting baptized as an adult is a strange and serious thing. I did not take it lightly. I took the time to reflect and understand my motives. I wanted to go into this new phase of my life truly feeling a change in my being. I know, it sounds all transcendent and pious. . .allow me to explain.
I didn't expect baptism or first communion to change my life. It was supposed to be a celebration of my transformation and my acceptance into the church, not some creepy voo-doo magic fountain that made me a better person. I'm not saying it wasn't an important or even sacred event; I'm just saying it was never the end-all point of the journey I had been on.
That's where Lent came in. Lent felt like the culmination of my long journey. It was my last big push for change before the big celebration. I took it upon myself to become a better person in those 40 days. I wanted to use Lent as an expression of what I wanted the church to look like in my life -- kindness, love, humility, thankfulness -- the list goes on. I spent a long time making a list of 40 things to do (one for each day of Lent) to show love and kindness to others.
I didn't complete it, but I did a lot of it. And I resolved to try again next year. Which starts tomorrow.
So my 40 Days of Love for Lent project will be back tomorrow, and I would love to have some people do it with me. Do some of the things, do all of them, do whatever works for you. Do it even if you aren't Christian. It's mostly just a list of nice things to do for your fellow man. That's something we can all get behind, right?