I saw a post about giving up social media for Lent. Of course, I get the spirit of this because I am on it too much myself — as a voyeur, not a participant. The truth is I don’t like to post because it makes me feel squirmy and vulnerable and more like a middle-schooler than a middle-ager. So, giving up social media would be easy for me. It would be welcome. It would have kept me comfortable.
Since Lent isn’t about being comfortable, I had this crazy thought. Instead of giving up social media for Lent, maybe I should embrace it. Maybe I should lean into it. Be uncomfortable. Get over it. While contemplating whether that is self-sabotage or a good plan, I received a text from a Jewish friend who told me about a Catholic who plans to send thank you notes to different people for 40 days, and how that makes more sense to him than giving up cookies.
Of course, it makes more sense and is a beautiful gesture. The world always needs more gratitude. I have a dear friend who always says, “What if the only prayer we ever said was thank you. Maybe it would be enough.” (A variation of a quote attributed to the German philosopher, Meister Eckhart).
As part of my Lenten experience, I am posting on social media every day something or someone that I am thankful for. Because I know everyone is not on social media and because I don’t have time to write for both formats during the Lenten season, my weekly posts will be the week’s compilation of gratitude. I hope it inspires your own.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart
LENT DAY ONE: I am thankful for the inspiration I receive from others in my life. I am grateful for the way that God works in all of us, how he binds and connects us and how the good that is done in the world spreads beyond what we ever see.
LENT DAY TWO: I am thankful for the chance to serve. For a few weeks I have driven around with homeless care packets in my car made by a church circle I am a member of. While I have seen people in need, I was never able to stop to hand out a packet – until yesterday.
It was cold and rainy and as I was passing a historic shopping area notorious for no parking, I saw an empty space and just beyond it– a homeless woman. It wasn’t my intended destination but it was where I was supposed to be. I pulled into the spot, got the bag out of my trunk and handed the pack of toiletries and snacks to the grateful women. Being able to give on such a gloomy day, filled me with a light that shines regardless of the weather.
Special thanks to my sisters in Christ who inspire me with their efforts to serve.
LENT DAY THREE: I am thankful for art. I love the way it makes me pause, feel, and think — the way it connects me to something greater and reminds me of all the intangible senses that, like God, can’t be experienced by any two people in exactly the same way.
While I am not an artist, I have come to look at my life as a work in progress by considering ways to change perspective, add color, balance, and soften edges. I’m trying to discern when to be bold and when to fade into the background. I don’t always get it right. Sometimes it looks more like mud than a masterpiece. Still, we have only one short life to create something meaningful, however you do it make it beautiful to you.
Painting by: Rob Middleton, The Lark
LENT DAY FOUR: I am thankful for perspective.
I may lose more than I win. I may encounter frustrating obstacles. I may sometimes feel inadequate and ill-equipped for life’s journey. Yet, even amidst the deepest disappointments, losses, and hurts, I am unconditionally loved. Having that perspective changes the lens in which I view disappointment. It brings into focus what matters. Each of us is ever loved and love redeems all of life’s shortcomings.
With that perspective, we all win.
LENT DAY FIVE: I am thankful for rest.
In a world that is always pinging, pulling, and pretending that the panacea for a worthwhile life is to fill it with busyness, I love the rebellion of a good rest. Making time to empty my day of tasks and fill it however I see fit, feels like one of the most decadent and meaningful ways I can reconnect with myself and what matters to me.
Sunday is a day of rest. May you make the most of it by doing the least.
LENT DAY SIX: I am thankful for the moment.
Every moment is a chance to begin again. Life is too precious to waste time being stuck or angry or complacent. This moment is new and never to be again. Make it a moment to love.
LENT DAY SEVEN: I am thankful for grandparents.
As a child, my grandparents were as dear to me as anyone. They embodied unconditional love with their soft laps and warm, happy-to-see-me hugs. One of my greatest joys as a mother has been seeing how much my own children are loved by their grandparents. I will forever be indebted to them because I know my kids will always hold their grandparents in their hearts as a place of refuge, laughter, love, — and let’s be real, decadent desserts. How sweet it is to know this kind of love.
(Not pictured: Daddy Bob, who is as alive as ever in our hearts.)
What are you thankful for today?