As we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, I am aware of how unusual this Lent has been for me. Perhaps for you too. My usual basic Lenten practice is to give up sweets. This is not a significant sacrifice, but rather I consider it a daily background reminder of this season of transformation. When I am tempted to reach for my usual lunch desert candy bar or dinner Klondike ice cream bar, I am reminded of the bigger sacrificial changes I am trying to make in my life – like living more simply, devoting mega time to social justice causes, really changing my lifestyle; or even this year’s plan to clear my desk area of paper clutter. But this Lent has been different.

Instead of a mammoth give-away effort or major lifestyle changes, I spent about half of Lent half a world away in Singapore for our son’s wedding. This hardly feels like a sacrifice. But…we work with what life (God) gives us. This year Covid travel requirements, a different culture, and lack of a daily routine jerked me out of my typical Lenten sacrificial mode to muse about life in general.

  • Maybe it’s the constant disturbing news about the invasion of Ukraine,
  • Maybe it’s a growing awareness of the precarious future of planet Earth as we know it,
  • Maybe it’s reflecting on how our children’s lives may be altered by the above,
  • OR, maybe it’s just getting older.

I don’t know. Regardless, I’ve been thinking a lot about ultimate things, like

  1. How big is the universe and can human-like life exist on other planets (like TOI-674 b)
  2. How/when did creation of the universe start?
  3. What is the essence of what I call “God” who I think of as the creator of the universe?
  4. Is there really a God and life after death? I choose to believe these concepts. It brings me comfort to envision a place of being after death, but… I have no certainty. Death may be nothing more than my body returning to the earth and being the source of new plant life.
  5. Would I live any differently if there is no God, no afterlife? Probably not. But my life feels more meaningful by connecting with a spiritual, God-like being.
  6. Are the above musings what Lent is supposed to be for me this year? OR should I just organize those loose papers?
  7. Am I the only one thinking about these things?

So… how would you answer the above questions?