Experiencing the Most Energized Lent Yet

By Ana Borden

Since the pandemic and restrictions started nearly a year ago, I have searched for any opportunity to find positivity and be grateful for moments during this time of uncertainty and chaos.

On days when I feel most cloudy in spirit, I seek deeply to find what lesson God wants me to learn during these times.

As clear as a sunny day, when Ash Wednesday arrived, I awoke refreshed, energized and with a sense of purpose unlike any other previous solemn commencement to Lent. Before 9 a.m., I had our four young children feed, dressed and in our pews for Mass.

My heart was so ready for a season of fasting and special prayer in preparation for Easter. As I sat, moments before the service started, I wondered where all of this energy emerged from.

Then, it dawned on me. How we feel physically has such an impact on us mentally and spiritually.

Typically, a few weeks before Ash Wednesday I am busy meal prepping for our immediate and lots of extended family members, packing extra clothes, emergency items, pulling coolers, wagons, ladders, bags of trinkets, making sure our kids (or others) are safe, monitoring traffic, weather and an array of other logistics to make our family’s Mardi Gras season – what we considered – successful.

For me, this year’s celebration had a more relaxing pace, was more meaningful and thoughtful. We drove by and stopped at decorated homes of friends and clients; made and decorated homemade floats, masks and king cakes, including many for friends; the kids dressed up in costumes for fun; and we all enjoyed lots of New Orleans traditional foods, including po-boys from my husband’s family place, Russell ShortStop.

It took a pandemic for me to find clarity during a not so clear time in our world. It has reminded me to stop, slow down and enjoy moments more intentionally.

For me, this past Mardi Gras season was the most successful, yet, for our young family. During this solemn liturgical time, my heart is filled with hope, prayers, fasting and reconciliation.

How have you approached Lent this season?

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