Some years I embrace Lent with all that I am because I'm desperately in need of it. Others, I just sigh and say "Really? Lent? Already?" It feels like one more thing to add to the to-do list.
This year, I definitely fall into that second category. Maybe it's because we're buried in piles of snow, I've been non-stop crazy busy, and the kids (two figuratively; one literally) are bouncing off the walls from being inside too much. Yet, the days are getting longer, the sun is growing stronger, and somewhere under those mounds of snow, my daffodil and tulip bulbs are just waiting to burst forth. Spring is coming even if it doesn't seem like it.
Lent is a reminder that the eternal spring is coming, that winter, neither the earthly frozen version nor the spiritual exile, does not last forever. Lent is a reminder that Christ suffered and died for us, and that we need to die to ourselves as well in order to be one with Christ. And so, the Church in its wisdom invites us to a deeper level of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting for these six weeks.
In our house, rather than ask the kids to pick something in particular to give up, I've set up a sacrifice jar. I told them that every time they do something they don't want to do or give up something or are kind to their siblings when they don't want to be, they can put a bean in the jar. The goal is to have the jar filled by Easter. We shall see how this goes.
This year, I'll enter Lent with some mild kicking and internal screaming, but hopefully by the end of the six weeks, my spiritual life will be a little bit better and I will be able to embrace Easter with all that I am.
Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.