Happy Ash Wednesday! Today marks the beginning of the 40-day journey before Easter. It’s a time marked with sacrifices and tuna fish, and the struggle of giving something significant up for those 40 days. I usually like to do something relevant that is frivolous and doesn’t better me as a person, so this year I decided to give up shopping (my go-to for the last 3 years or so) and wine. These are important because those are the two things I’m well-known for. Those who know me know I love my wine and have a crazy shopping problem, so giving both those things up is going to be a challenge. Also it should be noted that this is a weird time for me to be giving up wine, considering my boyfriend just started Ranger School and my stomach has been in knots 24/7, and will continue to be until he graduates, so wine would’ve been my regular companion during this time. But the fact that it’s going to hurt is what makes it a worthwhile sacrifice.
I’m actually really looking forward to Lent this year. It’s the first time I’ll be away from family and have their support during this challenging spiritual journey, so I have to do a lot of soul-searching on my own. One thing I’m excited to use as a resource is my new Lenten journal and Stations of the Cross cards from Blessed Is She. I purchased them a few weeks and cannot wait to delve into it tonight. I’ve found that need to work on my communication and personal prayer life with the Lord, so I think this is the perfect time to start. I’d like to have a dedicated time for prayer each night, which is something I’ve been slacking on. I know it’s not going to be easy, and honestly thinking about it sometimes just scares me, but I think the same can be said about any good thing in life.
Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. As a Catholic, I’m sitting here writing this with ashes on my forehead, a reminder of the fact that I am a sinner who is called to repentance, like everyone else. To be honest, it is always a little weird for me when I’m walking around the city and people just stare at me. And though that might make me feel momentarily uncomfortable, I also feel happy when I see other people walking around with the ashes on their foreheads. It’s almost like a symbol of unity, like we’re all in this together, which really, we should be. After all, the main reason for Lent is to prepare for the death and resurrection of the man who died for us all, so it would only make sense that we all embark on this journey together!
Lent is a time of penance, a time for sacrifice. It’s more than just giving something up and hoping we can last the 40 days without it. This year, like I’ve done for the past two years, I am giving up shopping. Trust me, this is a lot harder for me than it sounds! I have a self-diagnosed online shopping addiction. I shop online at least three times a week. The other four days, I’m usually browsing the websites, trying to decide what I’m going to buy. So yes, giving it up for 40 days is not going to be easy, but I’m going to give it all I’ve got in order to make it through. I’m also going to try to make it to daily mass. I’ll have to wake up earlier every day to make it to work on time, but I think this is exactly what I need in my spiritual life right now.
I’m suspending my Netflix and Hulu accounts for Lent as well, as I am the queen of binge show watching. No time like the present to nip that bad habit in the bud.
I know it is going to be a difficult Lent for me this year, but that’s the point: I need to give up the things that hold me down, and prevent me from furthering my relationship with Christ and the Church as I want to. This journey has only just begun, but I know that at the end, it’ll all be worth it. The difficult things usually are.