I have 2 saved posts that I began writing almost a year ago (during Lent) and one during Advent (the season before Christmas) from 2020.
Now, I didn’t finish writing or complete each post (obviously, or you would see them here). Each time I went sat down to write, I didn’t feel like I had the right words. I didn’t have full complete thoughts on the chaos that has been, and still is, working during a pandemic.
So, here I am, trying again.
This Wednesday, in the church calendar is referred to as Ash Wednesday. It’s a somber service where we remember “to dust you were, and to dust you will return” as you have ashes placed on your forehead in the sign of a cross. Kind of morbid, right? This year, I feel like there is a whole new meaning to that.
Pause for a moment and think about anyone you have lost this year. A loved one due to sickness or COVID, a friend, colleague, or acquaintance who you knew was sick, a resident at the nursing home or hospital you lost. Or even the loss of spending time with family, the loss of travel, the loss of making connections and spending time outside your home.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me long for something not so harsh. A year ago, we were preparing for another Ash Wednesday service, one in person, one where I sang in the choir. One without masks or social distancing. When I think about how close I was to all those people just one year ago, I cringe a little. Anyone else?
That’s a little besides the point. We have been living in a Lenten season for almost a whole year. The pandemic came to fruition and the forefront of our minds almost one year ago, during the season of Lent. How crazy to think that now, as we approach yet another season of Lent, how much has changed. Yet how much has stayed the same?
Not leaving home outside of work. Or, like my husband, working from home. Spending time in the cold, walking the dog. No exciting adventures to visit friends. No restruants to try. No unexpected ice cream dates where you run into a friend. No chance to visit family for birthdays or holidays. Worship from home. Zoom meetings all the time. Masks in every color, print and pattern. A mask for every season! **I may have one for every season! Does one need that many masks? I will never know, but now I can match my mask to my outfit or the season we are in.**
What does this mean for me?
This season, I am not sure. I’m not even really sure what, if anything, I will give up this year. I feel like I have already given up so much. So I think I will try to add one thing to my morning routine. A book my husband and I are doing together, some medication, and some reading time. I will also follow a local churches daily calendar for lent and donation calendar for this season. So I can give back. It feels like the right thing to do.
Don’t feel like giving anything up this year? Then don’t.
Don’t have time for anything extra? Don’t add it.
Make this a season for what feels good to you. Whatever that looks like.
Maybe more music instead of podcasts. Maybe time to find a hobby or something fun at home. Maybe organizing a little each day to help clear the clutter (it seems we have accumulated a little more of that being at home).
Or maybe it’s prioritizing sleep. Maybe it’s taking time off of social media each day.
Maybe it’s none of the above. And that’s okay.
Know that you are loved.
For me, this season will be different. More reflection and identifying what I need. My hope and prayer is that you take some much needed time for yourself too. If you’re anything like me, you are doing a lot and feel stressed all the time. So take some time, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, and do something for just you.
Maybe I’ll have more reflections for you, maybe not. But I want to leave you with some love.
Stay safe, have the best days available to you, and know that you are loved, always.
Lauren (AKA a tired OT who is trying to find some more time for herself)