Here we are in the season of Lenten reflection, kicked off last week by Fat Tuesday where we gorged ourselves on fatty breads and food and cake before the season of cutting back. For me this time has always been a season taking something out to allow myself more presence and space to see God and my community. In the past that has meant ditching Facebook so that I was not focused on what everyone else was doing. Actually, I think I’ve only ever cut out social media presences in my Lenten times. In high school I never did it, because of strange laziness and not understanding the point. Throughout college I always ended up giving up Facebook and noticing a very obvious release of anxiety. This year I would give up facebook, but unfortunately it is a necessary evil with events and music, so I’ve moved to the instagram. It tends to be the biggest distraction in my life these days. I can easily throw away an hour just mindlessly glancing from picture to picture and then my eyes feel like someone smeared cupcake icing all over them (NOTE: this is not a good thing). Smeared cupcake icing eyes feel like you’ve stayed up until two in the morning watching some dumb TV show in a dark room and they’re all tired and uncomfortable.
This Lent I want to avoid cupcake icing eyes. This means I am giving up instagram. Giving up instagram is passive, but I want to actively fill this open time with meaningful things. So I’ve been meditating for five minutes before bed, and so far it’s been real grounding and good. Maybe I’m making myself sound like a goody goody for lent. No, no, I am not, I can promise you that. But I can say that it’s good to break habits and disrupt the order of our lives. We so often cannot see what is around us until we change the way we look at it, and moving in different patterns really helps with that.
I’ve been reading David Dark’s book called Life is Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious, and one of his main premises is that our everyday lives compose our religion. We cannot separate our rituals, how often we check our phones, what books we read before bed from what we call our religion. They all make up what we believe, what we are bound to. He writes, “the space of your worship is the space of your life” (52). Later on he asks the question, “What are the movements, the ancestral lines, within and along which we’d like, or hope, to find our own lives in deep continuity?” (68). I am hoping to create a space where I can notice my rituals and bindings. I would prefer mindless iphone glazing to not be a part of my religion. And I would like to better see my patterns, my rituals, and the practices of my life. May this Lenten season be one of vision.
Side note: I just loved this rose in a water bottle perched atop a trash can on Valentine’s Day. Thought I’d share.
What have you all given up for this Lenten season?