For Lent this year, we've decided to return to a practice we engaged in several years ago - to not turn on lights or electronics after dusk each night. This time we may know what we are getting into and are anticipating the bad: hulu-withrawal and time-management challenges; but also the good: the peace, the earlier bedtimes, the glow of the oil lamp, the appreciation of light as the sun sets and the moon rises. I am looking forward to the change.
Lent has often felt like a second chance at New Years or another go at Advent, both "holy days/holidays" so influenced by the franticness of Christmas that I feel I don't have the time to give them enough thought. Some people give up things for Lent - either things they want to leave behind for good, or things that will help them refocus their interest and make new habits. Others take a more positive approach - more exercise, more quiet, more reading, some volunteering, etc. Year after year it seems to be about finding balance and kindling a litle hope that - with some examination, intention, and focus - we can move closer to being the people we want to be for ourselves and for each other.
"Remember... to dust you will return." A damn good motivator.
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
- Mary Oliver