Happy Lent, everyone! I am sure you all have little black crosses on your foreheads, and you have all completely forgotten about it. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend Ash Wednesday Mass this year due to work, but I did manage to get the little ashy cross onto my head.
It amazes me to hear the words, "For you are dust, and to dust you will return." I don't know about you, but I get a good laugh out of every Ash Wednesday blessing I receive. Why? Well, to put it simply, I'm being called a piece of dirt...literally. I mean, it shakes me up to know that man was made from the earth, and that when we die, we all return to where we came from (the earth). Also, the thought of vanishing into a pile of dust has a pretty cool effect on me.
In the past Lenten seasons, I've given up many different things. For instance, when I was twelve years old, I gave up sodas and juice. All I drank was hot tea, water, and milk. It was quite the challenge because I've always had such a sweet tooth. Later on, when I was fourteen or fifteen, I gave up chocolate. Man, that was hard! Can you imagine a sweet tooth, chocoholic going FORTY DAYS WITHOUT CHOCOLATE?!?! Especially at the hormone-raging age of fifteen! It was bad...really bad. Needless to say, Sundays were my "cheat days" before I even knew they didn't really count as Lent's "40 days." Anywho, two years ago, I gave up the bad habit of nail-biting, and I did the same last year (What can I say? Bad habits die hard.). Last year was the first time I ever took something on instead of only giving something up. I decided that on top of ending the nail-biting habit, I would also pray at least for one hour each day. It was tough, and on most days, it was difficult to sit out an entire hour in prayer. However, I made the choice that as long as I meditated on my daily Mass readings, prayed for at least ten minutes, and sang praise and worship music whenever I could, it would all be okay.
This year is a little bit different from the past. I've given up Facebook, Bubble Birds, and I'm forcing myself to take care of my health. Also, I've promised myself to be more open with my family and get to know my friends a little bit better. Facebook and Bubble Birds might be a little challenging, but I know I will succeed. But...being open and vulnerable with my family and friends...that will be the most difficult thing ever for me. See, I'm pretty shy. It's easy for me to introduce myself to others and be outgoing in that sense, but when it comes to actually getting to know someone (even my own family), I get into a shock. I freeze up, and I think of all these things to talk about, but when I open my mouth, it's like my voice has disappeared. This is my challenge for this Lenten season: I want to be more Christ-like in getting to know others, truly getting to know them.
I hope that you all enjoy Lent this year and enjoy getting to know the Lord a lot better through his suffering, his teachings, his mercy, his love, but most of all, through his resurrection. God bless you all. Happy Lent!
In His love,