Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Lent, my way.
Ethan inspires me to be more. Be better. Love more. I told him I would honor him in this way.
Today is Ash Wednesday. Yes, I chose to get my ashes - kind of cool having these moments officiated by my best friend & husband. Most of you know I was raised Catholic - though I am no longer. (Now I am Congregational - a denomination of the Protestant practice.) Being raised Catholic Ash Wednesday meant it was time to "give something up" for the 40-days of Lent. I think the idea behind this was to symbolize, on a ridiculously small scale, the sacrifices that Jesus made as he journeyed into the wilderness for 40 days. As a kid that usually meant giving up something I really liked to eat - something sugary. Ice cream one year. Chocolate another. As a young adult I explored my Christian faith a bit further. Wondered how substituting one version of a sugary desert for another really made me a better Christian? So one year, in my early 20s I think, I gave up swearing. (I don't swear at people very often, you should know. But I am raised just outside of Boston, and went to school in the city for 6 years - so I can swear a bit)
And now, it is Ash Wednesday once again. The first time since Ethan's death. So I sit here and ask myself, honestly - how can I use this Lenten season to make myself a better Christian? Rather than avoiding deserts I will be adding something to my day. Something to make me a better Christian. I will be trying to pray at each meal with my family - not just at dinner or the occasional lunch as well. Also, I will be trying to tell others what I love about them more often. Here is one of today's attempts to show my friends God's love.
so i have always felt close to you - from before the days of pink glasses and terrible bangs that my mother wouldn't let me grow out. you define the word friend. you must know this. having so many people in your life who count you as their best friend, or certainly one of their closest. you have a gentle way about staying in touch with people - even in their darkest hour (for me with ethan - or rather without ethan) that lets them know you are genuinely there for them. and you actually mean it. i love the way you allow me to speak about my fourth child, and don't get freaked out by the fact that i am speaking of a dead baby. because he is my son, first and foremost - and you remember that with me. i love the way you are funny - and don't take yourself, or allow anyone else, to take themselves too seriously. people are always laughing around you - and that is a gift you offer. i don't know your fiance well (yet) but that seems to be something you have in common with each other. i love and respect the way your family is the center for you - and i have often thought of your family, your relationships with your parents, and brothers growing up - and still to this day, as things for me to aim towards as i raise my own family. you are a fabulous friend, person, Christian, daughter, sister, fiance and - if you choose one day, will be a fabulous mother. in short - i love you. thank you for being my friend.
Simple. Genuine. Just the way God's love is. How will you show honor God's love? How will you perpetuate the love sweet Ethan embodied? It's far easier than people make it out to be. Why not try it? And you can keep eating your chocolate too.