Today is Ash Wednesday. It is also Valentine’s Day. It is a day for a double portion of love and sacrifice.
I didn’t grow up in a tradition that recognized the season of Lent, but I find it important to make space in my life to remember the suffering and death of Jesus in order to fully celebrate his victory over death on Easter.
Even as I enter into it today, I don’t fully know what I am “giving up” or committing to. These past months of walking in the shadow of death have been transformational for me. They have been hard; and while there are pieces of me that feel so vulnerable from the process, I believe there is something deeper at work that is creating greater strength and capacity for love. While I don’t fully understand it, I want to embrace all that God is doing. In my soul. In Ryan’s body. In my family. In Living Room.
So, lent is often associated these days with giving up chocolate, coffee, social media. All of that is fine, but I read a quote by Alicia Chole this morning that resonated within me for the place I find myself this Ash Wednesday: “God seems more interested in what we are becoming than in what we are giving up…Decrease is holy only when its destination is love.”
I want the destination to be love. I want to live these next 40 days in a way that leads towards love being lived out. I want to love God and my neighbors. I want to love my family and myself. If stepping away from Facebook will help me to do this, then let it be. If living without chocolate will help me to notice those who are hungry around me, then let it be.
Over the past month, each day I am watching my sweet baby recover a little more. There is more and more life returning. And it is new life – I feel like I still cannot say it out loud, but Ryan doesn’t have sickle cell disease anymore. In the same way that he is healing, I believe that Titus and I have been changed by this journey. We are recovering from the trauma of it. We are embracing the gift of life we have in our son. It feels like there is a lot of awe and wonder while there is the painful reality that we are going to do it again with Geoffrey.
Over these next 40 days, I want to be intentional with how I spend my time. I want to read, write and pray. I want to spend time with my family preparing for Easter. I want to grow in love of God and neighbor.
There are a few books I am committed to reading:
40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast By Alicia Britt Chole
A Way Other Than Our Own By Walter Brueggemann