Lenten Journey

Today is Shrove Tuesday, a special day in the calendar of the Christian Church.  It is the day before the beginning of Lent and a day to put aside all the luxuries and wanton desires of the world in preparation for 40 days of fasting and meditation.  It has become a day for debauchery and a day to use up all the fat saved over the winter by making pancakes and other treats.

The religious part of the celebration may seem strange to those who don’t practice it but most religions incorporate a time similar to this.  Even those who are not religious may find some good sense in the practice.

This is the time of year things begin to stir,  in the Northern Hemisphere at least. I saw snowdrops blooming this morning.  The potatoes under the sink begin to sprout, the fat you were saving turns rancid, your body even begins to make some changes.  I don’t know all the ins and outs of it but there is apparently good evidence this is the best time of the year to fast.  It is a time for cleaning out the junk in your mind, your body and your house.  Time for Spring Cleaning of everything.

In the Jewish tradition a similar time is used to clean house in a big way.  There isn’t to be one crumb left before Passover begins.  Also good reason for that.  It is the time of year that molds begin to grow and can cause damage to homes.  It isn’t quite the issue with central heating but still not a bad idea.

I don’t always do something special for Lent.  I’ve been known to give up sugar and chocolate for 40 days and one year when I was led to do so I went on an intense but sensible fast.  Never felt better.  Cleared my mind and my body to do some things which had to be dealt with.  Last year I learned the Rosary.  It is a wonderful tradition.

One thing I am careful about is not doing things I don’t feel “called” to do.  A strange term to some but one of the things I try to do in this life is listen to the Spirit of the Divine.  Often I miss the mark.  In moments like today I try to listen carefully about what it is I am being asked to do, asked to give up,or asked to add to my life.

As fate would have it I am in a place this year where it is easy for me to do what I need to do without worrying about anyone else.  I’ve been gifted with a home of retreat to stay in and pray in for a month.  There is a lovely fire where I sit and read or just crochet for a while.  There is a sweet old dog who doesn’t require much of me but forces me to get out and walk.  That is something I need to get back to doing after a few years of back and foot issues.  To top it off he likes to walk on the beach which isn’t far away and happens to be my favourite spot in the world.

I don’t know yet exactly what I’m supposed to be doing for this Lenten season.  Perhaps I’m already doing it.  Just learning to be more aware of the Divine in my life.  Whatever it is I know as long as I am listening to that “still small voice” it will be exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

What are you doing to support your season of renewal?




About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (www.riverofhopeenterprises.com), I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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