For people of faith all around the world, today, Ash Wednesday, is the beginning of Lent, and I couldn’t let it go by without mentioning it since it’s one of my favorite times of year. What is Lent, you may ask…
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-is-lent-and-why-does-it-last-forty-days)
During the 40 days of Lent a lot of folks practice the self-discipline of “giving something up for God.” I’ve never been a big one for that. My obvious choice would ALWAYS be sugar since I have such a sweet tooth. And when I have tried that, I’ve ALWAYS failed. So I got in the habit of ADDING something at Lent rather than SUBTRACTING something.
This year, for the third time, I’ve chosen to write affirmative notes to folks who have had a great influence on my life. I got to thinking about those notes this afternoon because of something Rainer Maria Rilke said in his Letters to a Young Poet. He was talking about letters, journals, fragments, and poetry of some of his favorite writers and how their words “live in infinite sound.”
Have you ever stopped and thought about how the words you’ve written to someone are likely to reverberate through their life — in a good way OR a bad way? Using words is such an important responsibility. And I like to think that the notes that I write during Lent will be full of words that will “live in infinite sound” in a good way in my friends’ minds, hearts, and lives.
So when you’re writing to someone, be it a note, a long letter, a birthday card, or maybe even a post about something, remember that you are only a caretaker of your words until they are released to “live in that infinite sound” in someone’s heart and mind. That is a great privilege and responsibility you have been given. Make your words count!. 🙂