On Feb. 17, 2021 Lent will begin again. 11 years ago I sought a more meaningful way to enter into the sacrificial season of Lent than just giving up candy. It started a Lenten tradition of trying to live more lightly on planet earth by decluttering my home, my life, and my spirit. A decade later I’ve made progress but still wrestle with what is most important for me to do now. On one hand I feel drawn to do more than just declutter stuff but to do two important parallels

  • Become personally involved with those in need, i.e. provide food, clothing, shelter, or education through direct service. Covid-19 has closed some doors in this area because of physical distancing.
  • Focus on systemic change, i.e. volunteer work to reduce global warming and social injustices in general. Covid-19 has opened some doors here through Zoom meetings but it is not the time to mobilize people to attend City Council meetings and gather for peaceful protests.

So, what is mine to do in the next six weeks? It occurs to me that perhaps it is time to go into hiding. By “hiding” I don’t mean avoiding the important works of direct service and social justice, but doing them in a hidden, quiet, internal way. Here is my current plan.

  1. Pray As my understanding of prayer evolves, it becomes more about opening my eyes to the needs of others and changing my heart. I let go of my worries about my health, my money, my computer woes, to remember that there is more to being alive than me.
  2. Be in Solidarity Sure, I fast during Lent from sweets, from meat, from some meals. But I want it to be more than just about me. When I feel hungry and am tempted to not skip that meal, I’ve started remembering that there are people who don’t have a choice. I fast in solidarity with them.
  3. Donate – I am grateful to those essential workers who work in non-profit organizations that serve the poor and disenfranchised. Some of us can do that, but others can give money. Jim and I decided that we will give our recent stimulus/relief checks to such organizations.
  4. Act – Covid-19 has prevented me from tutoring children at a local grade school and eating meals with the guests at our local Catholic Worker House, BUT I can look into some hidden places this Lent. For example, stuff is hiding in my closets, drawers, cabinets, and file cabinets. (The file cabinets will be a special challenge and may take a week to go through. Maybe it will be a Holy Week.)

I’m aiming for one hidden place a day. Making this plan public will hopefully motivate me. But more importantly, I hope it will stir you to choose a sacrificial act that is yours to do. If documenting your actions in my blog helps you to move ahead, I welcome your comments. Let’s keep each other honest and moving.