What about Lent? by Tina Simson

I envy the devout Catholics who seriously observe the Lenten season. I see them streaming from the small church outside my office window with ashes on their forehead. A badge that seems to say, "This means something to me." It brings their faith into each of the next forty days with reverence and sacrifice.

So I thought about what I could do, as a UU, to honor this time of preparation. If I recognize that these forty days precede  both Easter and Passover, I can consider them leading me to renewal and freedom. That's certainly something to prepare for. 
A friend of mine offers wonderful interfaith e-courses on the site Spirituality and Practice. 
This month there are several offerings that could inspire one's observance of Lent such as the one on Forgiveness-Growth in Love
I took a course from them last year on Rumi and it was a great. The daily reminders that came to my inbox, kept my focus and enriched each day. 
Another wonderful resource I find inspirational is the World Prayer Wheel where you can spin the prayer wheel and find a gift of a prayer from the world's many spiritual traditions. I like to take a spin and then use whatever comes up as a daily meditation. 
When I was a little Catholic girl, we were encouraged to give something up for lent.  I always tried to give up homework but then gave up chocolate instead. As a enlightened adult, I thought this was a trite way to observe Lent, until I realized that this is how my father gave up smoking decades ago. He now says that giving up smoking became a promise he made in the presence of a higher power, no longer just a habit to break.  So I think about this for me, is there something I should stop doing or start doing? Is there a way I behave with those around me that needs tending? Am I judgmental or harsh when I need to be forgiving and gentle?  
I'm looking forward to this season, it's so cold today and in 40 days, give or take, there's a good possibility it will be warm.  If nothing else, that's something to note.

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