Ash Wednesday 2021
Here we are entering the season of Lent. It's definitely not my favorite time in the church calendar. That's probably because it's a time where I "force" myself to focus and think. I make a conscious effort to think about what won't do (like eat chocolate; I give it up every year) and what I will (like perform an act of kindness; which was something new I tried last year.)
Ash Wednesday looks different this year. Let's face it everything looks different since last Ash Wednesday. I remember Ash Wednesday 2020 very clearly. For the first time in a long time I did not go to a church service; instead I did an Ash Wednesday drive by; ashes to go! It was a way to "mark" the beginning of Lent in a meaningful way while allowing me to hustle my butt down to my parents as I needed to take my mother in for eye surgery. Yes, there as a time when you could take someone in for a procedure and wait in a waiting room. Which is what I did. There might have been a few people masked, which at the time was an oddity. I look back to that time last year (February 26), I see it as the end of "normal" as we knew it.
Last year I made an effort to do an act of kindness every day. That was hard when we started isolating. My kindness acts became waves to people that I saw. That seems pretty lame; even in a pandemic.
This year I'm going to try something different that is in addition to my traditional "give up" of chocolate (which is harder than you'd imagine). Like last year, I'd like to "give" of myself. I am considering doing a 40 days/40 items food donation to go to my local food pantry, but I'd rather not have a box of items just sitting around waiting for Palm Sunday (which is when the items are requested to be delivered.) Perhaps I'll simply make a more concerted effort to purchase items during my weekly grocery run and place them in the donation bin as I purchase them, keeping track of the number of items that I "need" to make 40.
However, I have another thought, I'm just not 100% of how I'll implement it. I'd like to thank people and let them know what they mean to me. But this has to be meaningful; not just a quick thanks. I'm thinking that I should write something every day to a different person who has made a difference in my life. This will require thought and time. The time factor is what I am afraid will get away from me. Tossing off a thanks for all you've done is one thing, but a thoughtful note takes time and consideration. Will I be able to pull this off?
I'm willing to give it a try. Which means I need to end this post now and start working on my first letter.
For all of you who observe Lent, may this year, more than ever, be a meaningful one for you.