My Lenten Plans
In order to begin my journey this upcoming Lenten season, I wish to devote my energies to a series of three items... Fasting, Praying, Almsgiving. The following lists are some of the ideas I am considering for each category. I will be narrowing down the focus as the next few days pass until I am ready for my focus to start fully on Wednesday.
To fast is to refrain from something. Most people assume this should be something you cherish and select to deny yourself, and yes, this is one way to look at fasting. I, however, think that fasting can also be a way to try to distance yourself from aspects of your life that may keep you from fulling realizing the joy each of us seek. From that perspective, I have the following list of candidates for me to fast from during lent:
1. my beloved briar pipes and pipe tobaccos
2. intoxicating beverages
5. cuss words
6. mean and negative thoughts about others
7. mean and negative thoughts from others
8. becoming frustrated or angry and ignoring the love of family
9. being worried, scared, and emotionally disabled by family illness
The first five of this list are traditional things many people refrain from for Lent. However, for me it is far more likely some of the items in items 6-9 will be my focus for this Lenten fast. I truly do not take issue with my indulgences in items 1-5. But, perhaps, I shall think about it further and consider all of the above more deeply.
To me, prayer is multi-faceted. The common notion is to talk with God about life. But I feel prayer can also be more universal... it can be talking to one's self in our mind, and can also be our heartfelt communication about life with others. From this perspective, I have another list of prayer items I am considering foci on during this Lenten season:
1. Prayer to God et. al. about more than simply my fears about family and keeping family safe and healthy.
2. Prayer (discussion) with others about deeper issues beyond what is a part of the typical day-to-day work conversation
3. Prayer in my own mind in a way to be more meditative and soothing as opposed to being drastic and desperate and fearful.
I am unsure of the above three. There may be additions, but I would like all three to be a part of my Lenten efforts. However, it may be much more successful to limit the focus to one or two.
Almsgiving (acts of Chairty) can occur in numerous ways. Monetairly, temporally, emotionally, and physically are a few of many different ways to be charitable to others. In this vein, I am considering the following:
1. Devoting more time to work at a soup kitchen.
2. Donating funds to a variety of local and regional charities.
3. Identifying a series of various regional volunteer opportunities and having the five-ten minutes prior to my starting lecture in a class (the time when students filter into class) be devoted to encouraging a spirit of volunteerism.
4. Identifying new ways to be of service to my comunity.
Again, all of the above are items I would like to explore further. But I think narrowing my focus may be most successful.
That is it for today, I shall continue to mull over these ideas and flesh them out more. It is my hope to have a firmer idea of my foals during Lent by Tuesday and to being their implementation on Wednesday.