We often talk of Lent as a season. Yesterday the woman bagging my groceries made “Lent” a verb.
The one-inch-thick, pound-plus bar of Belgian chocolate was already safely tucked away in one of the bags when I explained that for the next 40 days I’d be abstaining from sweets and alcoholic beverages in order to connect more deeply with God and my need for God.
“Are you Lenting?,” she asked. She could just as well have been asking if I preferred my milk in a bag or whether it was raining outside.
But her question had elicited a surprised laugh on my end. “Lenting” as a verb suggests a little more intentionality than Lent as a season that we passively watch come and go like the colors of fall or the ice storms of winter. “Lenting,” like most verbs pertaining to human activity, connotes a choice or commitment of some sort. In the same vein as working or leaving or playing or boating or rock-climbing, “Lent” in verbal form is a decision, in this case to enter actively into the season of Lent as a time for remembering our need not just for God, but a God who wears a cross.
But here I go preaching again.
Because what I really want to say is that yesterday I learned from a stranger about what I want this Lent to be for me. My participation in Jesus’ journey to the cross won’t happen passively; nor can I will it into being; but it does require a level of commitment to place myself in a posture of neediness, starting with my most basic lusts and cravings. Embracing rather than passively ignoring my finitude is a blessed and well-trodden path to the heart of God. As St. Augustine said, “This is the very perfection of man, to find out his own imperfections.”
So here I am, Day 2 of Lent, Lenting.
Wanna join me?