Wednesday, February 13, 2013

lent: 4 letters, 40 days

hello, i'm alicia. i'm a relaxed catholic and i celebrate/participant in lent.

i'm not going to explain what lent is, i'm just going to get straight to the goods. during lent, some people give up something (typically a luxury) for 40 days as a form of penitence; no soda, no sweets, no fast food, no meat, no facebook, etc. as i've grown older and wiser, i started to think that the kinds of things i was giving up weren't really being given up for the right reasons. i'd give up chocolate to try and lose weight. i'd give up sweets to try and lose weight. i'd give up fast food to try and lose weight... you see where i'm going with this. it really defeated the purpose of what i was trying to show contrition for; "yes i'm sorry i have sinned, but i'm going to also reap benefits of showing my remorse by choosing to give up something that will help me lose weight." not quite what founding catholics had in mind, i'm sure.

i'm thinking of lent in a different light this year. instead of trying to punish myself, or subtract from my life, i want to add to it. one of the biggest "sins" i commit is simply not respecting myself or giving as much praise for the beautiful life i've been given. how can i take in more of what has been graciously given to me? how can i give more to myself in a healthy and loving way?

here's what i'm going to do for 40 days:

  • take the stairs every day 
  • write down one or two things i'm thankful for everyday 

i have an able body and i want to use it, i want to appreciate it more. and i'm not using it to all its ability when i take the escalator or the elevator. this is why i am choosing to take the stairs for 40 days.

i need to learn to let go and be. appreciate what's around me without focusing on the next move or the what-ifs. i need to re-learn how to be happy with life as is, and with myself. by choosing to write down something i am thankful for each day, it will force me to focus on the great things in my life, and will serve as a reminder that there are wonderful things to smile about every day. 

"let light shine out of darkness" - this hits me hard in the gut for many reasons, but mostly because it is word for word what i've been trying to do to overcome depression. i have been trying to be my own little light in all this darkness, and i am getting there. there's a flicker where there wasn't anything before, and the flicker can resist the storms more than it ever could. everything i'm going to do during lent is to help my light shine brighter and move me closer to the day where this is no more darkness covering my life.


  1. I like these goals so much better than restricting things. I think that's really smart of you and you'll be much more successful with it. Not to mention it's just a healthier mindset!

  2. Wow this is such a powerful post and something completely different to do during lent! I am not Catholic but usually participate in lent every year because I respect the reason why its done and think its a good idea for people to reflect on the why when giving something up. I, too, can be very negative sometimes so I think I'd like to be better to my self-really, just treat my body and soul with the kindness it deserves. Perhaps allowing rest when my mind says 'no, burn calories from that teeny Reeses cup you had today!' or 'its ok to feel sad about xyz.' Thanks for a great post!

  3. I love what you said - allowing your body rest when your mind wants to burn the crap out of the calories from that Reeses cup. I get into that mode so so easily, thinking I have to burn off everything that wasn't planned or may be a little outside my calorie "budget" for the day. Sometimes you gotta let go, and let your body enjoy life and rest! That's part of living too, and showing yourself respect to do what you need to do. :)

  4. That's everything I'm working towards: a healthier mindset. It affects every part of yourself, body and life. If you have that, I don't think you can go wrong!


Getting comments feels as good as a freezing cold glass of Gatorade on a hot summer day. So don't be shy - share your thoughts & opinions! - Alicia