(A photo from our Maundy Thursday service this year. We ended the evening in our courtyard as a representation of praying together in the garden. It was beautiful and holy.)
We failed pretty big time at our Lenten practice this year.
But I suppose in some ways, that's part of the point of it all, right? That we try something new, that we experience sacrifice in new and different ways, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
And I'm ok with that.
So while we perhaps didn't actually keep to our list (turns out we do better with 1 task rather than changing it up every single day for 40 days), I think we did indeed still live in the darkness of Lent for a few weeks. We spent a lot time thinking about death and sacrifice as we said goodbye to our Maggie. But we also spent a lot of time reflecting on our belief that death does not have the last word. We mourned the pup that we loved so much, but we also celebrated the promise of new life as my sister and brother-in-law announced that they are expecting their first child. We spent time in our dead (for the winter), ugly, weedy yard and over the weeks have watched it slowly transform into the beautiful garden we know and love. We planted two new apple trees and have watched them root into their new home and blossom. We have watched, experienced, and felt the season change from cold and gloomy to days filled with sun and warmth.
And so, yes, we did not follow our well intentioned list of practices. But I think that we still learned a lot during this Lenten journey about what it means to love and to lose, to trust that death is not the end, to cry and yet be at peace, and to live into the beautiful promise of resurrection in our every day lives.
We hope you and yours had a very Happy Easter!