I struggled with Lent for many years. It simply didn't make sense and many of the Lenten practices seemed pretty annoying. Then a song by Carey Landry began to help. It's my favorite Lent song. These are the words of the chorus -
"Dance in the darkness, slow be the pace.
Surrender to the rhythm of redeeming grace."
When I sang it slowly and closed my eyes I could feel grace surrounding me. I knew the
darkness was helping me to connect with God and God's grace. So I began to see Lent
as a time of rediscovering essentials, of finding balance. There is a beauty to essentials - the simplicity of a line drawing or a black and white photo.
Essentials - my life is full and busy - but what are the most important parts? What is out of balance?
So, for me, right now - I definitely spend too much time on my computer - especially playing games. For Lent I'd like to limit that and see what use I can make of that time - perhaps clearing out some of the clutter in my house. There are some areas that definitely need attention.
One Lenten practice I like is reading. There is a book I started last year during Lent - "Drawing Closer to Christ - A Self-Guided Icon Retreat" by Joseph Malham. I didn't quite finish it - but it was really good - so I shall start over and finish it this year. It gives step by step instructions for painting an icon - which I don't want to do. But it also gives reflections on creating art that I really enjoyed. The preface begins with a wonderful sentence,
"The Christian artist builds bridges,
and these bridges are routes of access to the beautiful,
which is an evocation and expression of the reality of God. "
I love this sentence - I considered using it in my artist's profile, but it isn't my sentence.
For me it is both a challenge and an affirmation.