February 19, 2012
Affirmation: I let go of ingratitude.
Lent is almost upon us. Ash Wednesday is next week. Lent in the Catholic faith is the time to prepare for the death and most importantly, the miraculous resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Wow! What a story! And, we are called to travel with Him on His journey. We are called to stay present to the time, the season, the death and the rebirth. It’s a time that takes many of us out of the depths of “winter” and into the fullness of “spring.”
One of the challenges offered to us during Lent is to make it a time of Sacrifice. We are encouraged to deny ourselves and to do works of mercy. Oh, I don’t think it has to be any great effort but we are called to do something so that we are more aware of the 40 days; so we stay more present to the Lenten season. It’s a gift we give ourselves.
How can denial and service be a gift? Well, it takes 40 days to develop a habit and this type of exercise can be seen as an opportunity. I know many people who use the Lenten sacrifice as a time to diet. I can’t count the number of people who have shared with me that they have given up chocolate or sugar. Maybe that’s worked well for them. Perhaps every time they have that craving, they find themselves more present to Christ and his sacrifice. But, besides a restrictive diet, we need to take up the badge of service, find something we can do for another. There are so many in such dire straits right now. How can I be of more service than I already am? Maybe I need to go through the house and give up a few coats and other items of clothing. One of my dear friends is always reminding me that someone else could be using the items I have left untouched for months and in some cases, years. Perhaps, it’s a time for me to be a prayer warrior. How can I add more prayer to my daily practice especially for those most in need? Maybe I can send a note or make a call once or twice a week to friends I haven’t touched base with in a while? I can pray for them, offer up a day for them, send them a visible sign of my love, like a note or a care, even an email might work. I’m sure you can think of many other ways you can give back.
And, what can I give up? What new habit cans I develop over the Lenten season that won’t simply reduce my waistline but will add to the quality of my life, my life and hopefully the lives of all those I touch? I have decided to give up ingratitude. Ingratitude is defined in the dictionary as “forgetfulness or poor return for kindness received.” A synonym is “thanklessness.”
I live a life full of abundant blessings. I am a very lucky woman. I am loved by my family and have many wonderful friends. I need and want nothing. I am beyond lucky and extremely grateful. I have hit the jackpot of life. I am safe, secure, and healthy. But, every so often envy slips into my psyche. I’m admitting it. I can still find myself listening to or watching others and wonder what I did wrong. Why didn’t I make that choice; why didn’t I travel that path; why do their lives appear so easy, so full? Sometimes it’s little things that I find myself dwelling on and other times, it’s some major issues. But, that doesn’t serve me or anyone else. Whether I credit to God, to fate or to my own hard work for the life I now live, being ungrateful is plain wrong. With my newest affirmation; “I let go of ingratitude” I find myself noticing when I am undermining my own happiness and I stop and let it go. Perhaps by practicing letting go of ingratitude for 40 days, I’ll develop a new habit. Maybe by the end of Lent, I will rise too, to a new awareness, a new way of thinking about my life; a way that brings me and those in my life, a sense of greater peace and joy.