I had not attempted to give anything up or down for Lent this year. As Ash Wednesday crept up then leapt past, I felt that I could live these 40 days with intentionality, but not necessarily give anything up.
But there was something different in store for me. And for us I guess.
Earlier this week I took my oldest to the neurologist for persistent migraines.
A change in diet, a low dosage medication and hydration were the three things the doctor prescribed to help with her increasing headaches. We got the medication, I took her back to school, and headed to the healthy supermarket to figure out what we could start eating as a family to support her new food needs.
Fresh meat. Fresh vegetables and fruit. No chemicals or preservatives. No chocolate. Nothing processed. You have got to believe life has been uprooted and turned over in our normal little American house.
But this is what happened.
First, I’m rediscovering my children thrive under boundaries. As do I. Of course we as parents have boundaries on everything in our house, and with that food. We live a generally healthy existence with an occasional piece of Valentines candy or a trip through the Taco Bell drive through thrown in the 45 min between horse and soccer. But to give them such strict boundaries? The first few days were rough and they will not admit it to me, but they love the boundary. Not only do they love it, but I’m seeing them thrive with it.
Second, we are trying new things. I made baked potatoes the other night and as they baked I realized my children had never eaten baked potatoes. Right? I have been apparently that mother. Pushing aside the guilt, I placed a hot russet on each plate when they were ready.
You would have thought I was Gordon Ramsey.
This is the BEST meal you have ever made!
I LOVE baked potatoes!
What ELSE can you put on them?
As if potatoes were something I had been hiding from them. Ninety-nine cent dinner for the win!
Third, this is the first week in many that we have been sitting down all four of us every night to eat together. I’m cooking (and I’m liking it — who knew?) and I’m planning (because I have to) and as I strolled slowly through the supermarket earlier today I realized something.
This is my lent.
But intentionally, quiet, centering, with choice-making and thinking and resting at the center. It is the working with my hands, the boundaries, the other-centered living. It is, on accident, focused on family and then, by turn, on God.
This is my lent. This is our lent. It is altogether accidental. And it is beautiful.