Lent Project -1: Mardi Gras

Light shining on a spray bottle of clear liquid that is casting a shadow on a shelf of vintage books.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Mardi Gras provides a final opportunity to celebrate before the Fast/Pray/Tithe cycle for RC kids gets underway. Through the year, there are always flush, celebratory times interspersed with lean, reflective times, and the balance of those times is what sometimes gets out of control. The COVID insanity started during Lent last year, so this whole last year seems to have been a strange one.  A year ago, I launched into the Spring Cleaning of my Soul project with aplomb. Like I always do. But then, hardly 3 weeks in, COVID kicked us all back into our homes and behind masks. There was no smiling at people in socially distanced lines. There was no gathering over drinks or coffee or dinners out. Then there was, and then there wasn’t and then there was and then there wasn’t. And we all got dizzy.

A year ago, the best of us showed up when we shopped for at-risk neighbours and sung in from balconies in cities around the world. And the worst of us showed up when people hoarded toilet paper. It was really, really not what any of us could have predicted. What did we learn in a year?

On the one hand, a chance for family to just be together without the distractions of extra curriculars and practices and hanging with friends and after school coffee dates and beer o’clock. On the other hand, SO MUCH TOGETHERNESS! SO MUCH ZOOM! It’s been a study in contrasts. Celebrating the blessings of my yard and my neighbourhood; and pining for my precious 10 days at the beach. *Sigh*. 

Because of Covid-19 (and it’s fun variants), I’ve been working from home for 48 weeks. La Famiglia gathered weekly for a good old fashioned family dinner at a rotating agenda of hosting locations. The Command Center took over our dining room table, so no more weeknight family dinners for us.  In the last few weeks, we bought a perfect little gate-leg table so we can eat together in the kitchen, and then tuck the table away practically to nothing. This year was certainly not what any of us could have expected. And it has been hard to reflect when every day is the same as the last. There’s no observed life-learnin’ that I can wrestle to the ground to reflect on what it means to be better than I was the previous day. There are no overheard conversation snippets on the wind. No observed random acts of kindness in the arena or the market or the book store or lunch room or the gym. There is just me, alone with my desire to be a better person.  What lessons can I take forward as I journey into the next year of living in this new version of our world?

If I’m being less of a jerk because there are fewer things to make me a jerk, does that count as progress? And if I can’t cut back on coffee-shop treats because I don’t go to work, so I there is no opportunity to visit the coffee-shop anymore, does that count? This Lent will look different than others because the world looks different.

This Lent, may I find new and novel opportunities for inspiration to pray, for ways to give, and luxuries to forfeit as I strive for balance of mind, heart, and soul. May I recognize the opportunities for joy in my community, and when the solemn times are becoming mired in darkness. And may this austere, lean time increase the joy when we can all gather again.

The Spring Cleaning of my soul starts now.

Extra Credit:

I’ve created landing pages for the last 2 years of Lent Project. You can access them from the Reflections Projects option in the menu bar. Happy reading, friends!

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