I missed the more formal Catholic masses that I used to attend before medical school, before Boston, before a subinternship in transplant surgery.
I felt a little strange, just popping in to the chapel and then popping out again, newly anointed with ashes but otherwise the same- tired, grubby, scrubs sagging, hair frizzy.
For the last few years, I have given up animal products during Lent- becoming a vegan until Easter. As I follow a primarily vegetarian diet, this isn't too much of a stretch, but it is enough of a reminder to think about food, our environment, our choices, and the people who are forced to do without on a daily basis.
I am also planning to pray more regularly- something daily is my goal.
But I haven't figured out my third pillar yet, the "almsgiving" or doing-unto-others part. I want to make a realistic commitment that will maybe push me out of my comfort zone a little, but I'm coming up short on inspiration.
This year, I am also dating a man who really is interested in Lenten practice (he is nonreligious) and very supportive of my spirituality. We were discussing Lent last night, and he told me that he would like to try it, the idea of a 40 day period of abstaining from something, trying to grow spiritually, and doing something deliberately proactive and good for the earth/others. So in some ways, I have extra support to really try and stretch myself and open my mind and reconnect spiritually this year.
I would love some ideas/suggestions.
Would anyone else like to share their plans?