zoning in

We had an eventful first day of Lent in very unexpected ways.  I am deeply thankful for the kind individuals, practically strangers, who surrounded me in a particularly difficult parenting moment.  They made all the difference.  Even so, by the end of the day I had cried over the phone with two friends and my mom.  One friend and I discussed the way a terribly difficult and humiliating experience can be softened by kindness.  It’s so true.  I was surrounded by kindness and compassion yesterday and for that I am very grateful.

We arrived a little late to the mid day Ash Wednesday service, but thankfully we were still able to get a seat for all eight of us.  Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days.  I love the Mass.  I love the feeling of hope that priming myself for change brings as we enter into the season of Lent.  I typically don’t give things up for Lent, I prefer to add things, extra prayers or reading material.  But this morning first thing, I knew that I wanted to give something up, and that in giving it up there might be more room for adding those prayers or books.  Jonny and I used to spend our evenings so quietly.  We don’t have a television and that helped.  But over the past year, as it has become so easy to “watch instantly” on the computer we have found ourselves watching a little something (or a lot) each evening.  For Lent, I’m giving up my evening “watch time” and Jonny is too.  So often a stressful day has me just wanting to zone out, but what if instead we zone in?  A little quiet each night may do us a world of good.

I’ll confess right now, I didn’t start any Lenten reading with my kids yesterday.  We did well to pull the books out (I added my usual Lenten reading list to my sidebar if you’re interested) and make it to Mass.  I did stop at the store on the way home to buy toothpicks for our crown of thorns.  I’ve made one from dough in the past, but found it very difficult to remove the “thorns.”  The idea is that each time one of our children makes a little sacrifice , they can remove a thorn from Jesus’ crown.  My friend Margaret, whom I have mentioned here before (she’s the enthusiastic one!) recently started a blog.  I think people have been begging her to for years.  (Thank you, Margaret!)  Her latest post shares her family’s traditions for Lent, and one of them is making a crown of thorns from a grapevine wreath.  How perfect, and much simpler than the dough version.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!