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22 February, 2012

40 Days to Wonder - 40 Days to Die to Self

I love our Catholic (and Christian) tradition of Lent.  As Matt Maher sings it's, "Forty days to wonder, forty days to die to self"

Because I work for the Church my life naturally flows on a Liturgical calendar, and because I work with school aged kids, my life naturally flows on a school calendar.  This means every year instead of making New Year's resolutions as someone who thrives on a calendar year might do, I live for the spiritual rejuvenation of Lent.  And this year our county's Spring Break happens to fall during Holy Week, which means a week of true quiet and reflection!

Lent snuck up on us this year - as did Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK day and President's Day.  Such is life with a new baby, right?

On Monday Eric and I got serious about discerning what to give up or do for Lent.  We talked out a bunch of ideas and then tonight discussed our plan.

Last year I gave up Facebook and found that the time away from the screen helped my schedule.  The year before was a bad year - Eric and I read a nightly Lenten reflection but we ended up not liking it very much and would just laugh.  In 2009, I had one of my best Lent's to date.  I gave up all drinks except water and then used the money I saved to buy food for the soup kitchen.  You can read all about it here, on my old blog.

Other things I've done include a daily blog of things I am thankful for and a daily picture of the gifts of God in my life(back in the film days!).  And we can't forget the year I gave up talking to an ex-boyfriend!

This year I was inspired to do something creative again.  I was at bible study a few weeks ago and we were talking about the Beatitudes.  They can be boiled down to four things that separate us from God: wealth, pleasure, power and honor.  None of these things are inherently wrong, it's just how and why we use them that can become disordered.

Since I have been reading The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life , I was particularly moved by our discussion on  "Blessed are the poor in spirit" - and how this can mean that we need to detach ourselves from things being our god and instead use our things to glorify God.

Looking around our apartment, there is a great deal of "stuff" that is not glorifying God.  It's just taking up space, making me stressed, and is wasteful.

So this year I will be tackling a new area of the apartment each week of Lent.  Simple Mom is doing her annual Project Simplify so I will be linking up with her for four of the six weeks.

My calendar reads:
  • Week of Feb 27 - Laundry Room
  • Week of March 5 - Kids Stuff (Simple Mom)
  • Week of March 12 - Kitchen and Pantry (Simple Mom)
  • Week of March 19 - Closets, Counters and Drawers Oh My! (Simple Mom)
  • Week of March 26 -  Choose Your Own Adventure (Simple Mom) - My Closet & Dresser
  • Week of April 2 - Bookshelves and Entertainment Center
We will be donating household and clothing items to a local charity, any unopened food or pantry items to a food pantry, and any gently used baby or maternity items to a local crisis pregnancy center.

Eric will be assisting me in some of the areas.  In addition, he will be attending daily Mass one week day each week.

We will each also read the daily Mass readings and then discuss them at night and read a brief meditation from The Magnificat.

This might look like an overachiever Lent, as most of mine tend to, but given my job and work environment I usually need something far reaching to achieve the Church's call for Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. 

Check back for weekly updates on our progress!

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