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The Next 40 Days

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the day many Christians mark as the first day of Lent, the time of reflection and penitence leading up to Easter Sunday. Clergy all over the world dispensed ashes, usually made by burning the palm fronds distributed on last year’s Palm Sunday, making the sign of the cross on the bowed foreheads before them. As they “impose” or “dispense” the ashes, the pastor or priest reminds each Christian of Genesis 3:19: “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.”

This isn’t intended to be a downer. It’s supposed to be a reminder that our lives are short and we must live them to the fullest.  A secular observance that evolved into “Shrove Tuesday,” the last hurrah before Lent started and is usually marked by the eating of sinfully sweet foods.

If there is something in your recovery you need to do that you have been unable to do long term, perhaps focusing on these 40 days, on your relationship with your Higher Power, and with what you need to do, will help. And perhaps, in drawing yourself closer to realizing who you are and who you want to become, you will be successful. You may believe that you cannot follow a food plan long-term, but focusing on doing just that for 40 days, with help from your Higher Power, and perhaps from your favorite dietitian, or sponsor, or other friend, may give you the ability to see where your resistance is, or what is wrong with the food plan, or what else needs to happen in your life.

I am looking forward to spring – sunshine and flowers – but this winter has been hard on me and on many of us in many different ways. Will you join me for these forty days in planning and doing something that will make your spring brighter and perhaps, make your spirituality stronger? Pick something light and easy like:

Read a new meditation book
10 minutes daily for meditation
An act of kindness to a stranger every day
Indoor exercise; a yoga class or another tv led class
Try a new abstinent recipe each week
Germinate spring flowers
Drink more water
Do that step work you have been avoiding
Say something nice to your spouse/partner
Sponsor someone who needs your help
Go to a new meeting every week
Make an amend
Call an old friend
Call someone who is struggling
Take a service position
Help another employee at work
Do a kindness for your spouse
Wear a special piece of jewelry to remind you to pray through the day
Put down nicotine, vaping, alcohol, sugar, flour, gambling, or anything
else you do abusively
Stop doing what your Mother or spouse does not like(!)
Read a good book
Clean up the basement/your desk/your room
Abstain from yelling at your children
Clear the snow from your neighbor’s walk
Take those old clothes to the Goodwill type store
Carry in that heavy bag of groceries for your neighbor
Tell your loved ones that you love them

4 Responses to The Next 40 Days

  1. Carole Comfort February 23, 2021 at 2:42 pm #

    Always inspiring. Thanks I appreciate your continuing support and ideas that make me choose to do better.

    • H. Theresa Wright February 23, 2021 at 9:04 pm #

      Thank you. Hope all is well with you.

  2. Cari Heumann February 23, 2021 at 7:31 pm #

    Theresa, this is a beautiful blog! You give such lovely ideas for things that we can do for Lent and the upcoming spring season. This has been a very difficult year and we all need to see some kind of a light, even if we have to create it for ourselves!

    • H. Theresa Wright February 23, 2021 at 9:04 pm #

      Thank you.

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