Mindful for Lent


Ash Wednesday 2015

 couple on bench watiching sunset This morning I talked to my sister Mary. She has decided to keep a spiritual journey for the next forty days. She called and wanted to explore where our ‘spirituality’ came from. It was an interesting and often funny conversation about our early religious schooling (Catholic nuns!). The conversation then turned to the faith of our grandmother. As we talked I had to say that my own faith journey began because of our grandmother. She was deeply religious, a convert to Catholicism. She was also a very creative person. She loved music and to sing. She could play any song she heard on the piano – without sheet music. She loved cats and kept a sweet little kitchen garden under a small tree just outside her kitchen door. I recall how lovingly and carefully she attend each Spring to picking out the pansies or marigolds that she planted. She loved cats (seemed to favor her cats more than her grandchildren) and Brandy Alexander’s. She was also a wonderful baker. She had lived over the bakery with her first husband who as a baker. She always had some baked goodie when we went to visit. I guess like all families each of my siblings has a different view of who Anne was. (She was a very young grandmother. She had had my mother when she was fifteen years old, so we were not allowed to call her ‘grandma’. We were to call her Anne. My father, her son-in-law, preferred to call her by her given name, Myrt (short for Myrtle). There’s probably a story there too. For whatever reason my grandmother did not endear herself to all my siblings. She and I were very close however. I was her favorite. I think this hurt my sisters, especially Mary, when we were growing up. This did not foster a warm fuzzy feeling for our grandmother on their part. We could not recall what prompted little Mary one day to lock our grandmother in the small bathroom just off the living room and even though we laugh about it today, Mary was high tailing it out of the house when grandma was let out. The irony here also is that my sister Mary inherited more of Anne than any of the rest of us. She loves cats, has beautiful gardens, plays the piano better than any of the rest of us and is a great cook and baker.

Eventually we got around to the topic of Lent and spirituality. She asked me where the idea of giving something up for Lent had come from. She thinks the idea ludicrous, since after Lent what have you achieved in spiritual growth by not eating chocolate or drinking alcohol. All I could say is that it was the old way of the church. That penitential view of Lent. Thankfully things have changed.

By keeping her spiritual journal during Lent she wants to become more mindful. Giving up the hours on the computer or the mindless morning television shows. I do that too. Let those hours eat up my day. She’s addicted to Pinterest. I play too much solitaire. I think it keeps my mind sharp! Probably not doing much for my soul though.

Isn’t that what St. Paul was writing about in his letters? Staying mindful of who they were.

Perhaps this Lent you might want to keep a journal. Find something enlightening to read and write about it. Or just reflect on how you got where you are today. Your path to who you have become. Where is the sacred in that journey? What do I need to do or to be to become more mindful during each day? Thanks, Mary, my friend and sister.







2 thoughts on “Mindful for Lent

  1. I was amazed how powerful our talk felt. Not watching the Today show proved to be extremely important. As a teacher, I used to tell my students and their parents that TV is not harmful in itself but the harm comes from the valuable experiences wasted time robs from you. I should listen to my own advice more often. Thanks for reminding me how much like our Grandmother I have become. You forgot red lipstick and a dab of perfume behind each ear. Can’t wait to explore Mom’s gifts of spirituality that she left us. Love you,

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