Posted by: Ingrid | March 4, 2011

Lenten thoughts

When I attended an Anglican church through college and beyond, the lenten season never really caught me by surprise.  Once January rolled around it was on the minds of my friends and roommates; something talked about over lunches as we brainstormed what the season would look like.  Once I was back at a standard evangelical church that might give a hat tip to lent but was not really immersed in the season, it became a lot easier to sideline.  When the whole of your community is heading a certain direction it is much easier to keep those thoughts and ideas at the forefront of your mind.

For the most part, lent has slipped by the past few years without much fanfare.  Truth be told, I miss the the built in time for contemplation and thought that lent provides (as well as the physical time that having an active toddler has robbed me of) 😛  I miss the time to write, the lenten hymns, the poetry of T.S. Elliot, and the sober journey towards the delight and celebration of Easter Day.

This year, with an older child and no longer feeling quite so new in the area, I am hoping to actually observe lent again.  With that in mind, I have been letting the thought of what I hoped to take on or give up roll through my mind, waiting for it to catch on something.  It didn’t take long for the thought to hit: I need to give up comparing myself.  Followed close at hand by a quick inventory of what takes me down the long dark hallway of comparison, leaving me dissatisfied with my life, dissatisfied with myself, and discontent in the present moment.



Which was followed almost as quickly by the thought that there is no, no, NO way I could give up either.  That’s one of the only places I “see” people.  How else would I keep in contact with family and friends?  I’m stuck in the house with a toddler, I need the internet connections.  What would I do without being able to check blogs and everyone’s Facebook status when I’m tired or bored?

What indeed?

I find that when I get a reaction like that there’s usually something there.  Because truth be told, I have a cell phone with plenty of minutes.  I have a car to go and visit people.  I have email.  I haven’t posted pictures of Isaac on Facebook for months and I have hardly sent or recieved a single personal message on Facebook in weeks.  I usually have little time to comment on all the blogs I read, even though I would like to.  Truth be told, neither medium does much for true connection with the people I care about.  Both, however, give me a false sense of community, a peak through the window of someone else’s life without any interaction.  I know who is going on vacation, what so-and-so is having for dinner, and that someone else is having a bad day.  All of the knowledge, none of the investment.  And with blogs… well, I love the blogs I follow, a diverse group of women and moms and runners.  I love reading what people have to say about their lives and I think it’s fantastic that we have this platform to share from.  At the same time, when I’m not careful, I start heading down a very bad spiral.  Everyone else’s lives and parenting and running and all sorts of other things become what my life should look like and what I should do.

Whenever that happens (and I have seen it more often recently) I come up lacking because I’m simply not that person.  I’m me.  I’m living my life, with my family, with my set of circumstances and hangups and body and likes and dislikes and personality.  Boy is that hard to remember sometimes though.  So here I am, thinking that I might, just might, have to actually go though with it and take the time off for lent, find more ways to really interact with people, find more contentment in the present of my own life.

Can I tell you just how annoyed the thought of giving up my internet fun makes me?  This is perhaps not as hard as the year I gave up running for lent (Oh, go ahead and laugh – I seriously thought it was going to kill me!) but it is still up there with one of my few “fun” things now that I am a mom.

And now I feel like I should go an read everyone’s Facebook status and comment on every blog I follow until Ash Wednesday.



  1. I grew up Catholic so lent is a big thing for us (so is mardi gras which I never seemed to understand how indulging, just so you could sacrifice is a good thing). But, I totally agree with you. I’m actually giving up blogs for lent…i’m still trying to decide if I can do facebook too…I’m totally addicted, which is why I need to! Because yes, it does create a false sense of community and I often leave comparing myself to other as a mother, runner, woman, etc. Too much focusing on what I don’t have rather than what I do have. Plus, honestly, I have not sat down and blogged hardly at all lately, much less commented. Anyway, this post resonated with me strongly today. A friend of mine does have a very good blog and she suggested a lenten reflection that you can sign up via e-mail. So, maybe, I will use this as a guide for reflection during lent. Just thought you might be interested in it too!

  2. Ingrid-this resonated with me too! Because guess why I decided to read your blog just now? For all the reasons you mentioned. I love the sense of friendship and community and keeping up with people who have the same things going on in their lives as me. BUT….I also totally compare myself to other moms and runners–and you know what that spells out when your in the type of “comeback” situation that I am. Not good. I do really enjoy reading about your running and Isaac. It will be weird not “seeing” you for a month!

    • Greta, it sounds funny to say that I feel better knowing that other people struggle with this too, but I really do! Somtimes I feel like I am the only one comparing myself and coming up wanting. I am going to keep blogging during lent, because I like having a place for my thoughts and I will be checking my email, but I won’t be checking all the blogs on my google reader or anything on Facebook. Except maybe on Sunday, since there is a clause for enjoying whatever you gave up on Sunday – not sure yet what I will do with that!

  3. Interesting and I have been thinking of giving up similar mediums – at least for a bit. I don’t know if I could/want/need to give up blogs, but Facebook & Twitter are not serving any useful purpose in my life. Plus they take my attention away in tiny little chunks from Bella all day long. Now I have to think about the blog things though – maybe I will give up all but my “favorites” -the ones I truly feel good from and not there as filler in my life.

    Tricky, tricky as a mom to give these things up though, right?

    • Laura, I understand about the “little chunks” taken away from Bella – I feel that way too! And sometimes those little chunks lead to Isaac emptying his entire package of wipes on the floor, like he did last night…

      It is hard to figure out what to give up as a mom, there is already so much sacrifice as it is that I don’t want to just do things that make life no fun. I’m curious to see how it will go not having that filler for a while. Maybe I will take up knitting?

      • I decided to officially commit, too since I had already been leaning heavily towards it. We are going to be CRRRRRRRRAAAAABY this Lenten season 🙂 Of course, I took the easy way out and am still allowing blogs, just at certain times. Good for you!

  4. ha- I get this. Whenever we go away for a few days or longer and don’t have internet I actually get to the point where I am not looking forward to returning home because i will inevitably find I LIKE not catching up on others lives etc…yet the Facebook/blog vortex inexorably draws me back..I do like limiting my visits though, like once every few days or something….I could definitely do without Facebook. But do like learning from others via blogs….

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