Anyone who knows me knows that cooking is not my favorite thing to do and I’m not particularly the best at it. I look for any trick I can find to make a meal taste good. Sometimes I create a winner. Sometimes, not so much. Ask my family. On second thought, don’t!
I made chicken for dinner the other day. I decided to marinate the chicken before cooking it to give it a little something extra for flavor. It worked. It was good! Marinating did the trick and it was easy! I just put my chicken in a plastic bag with marinade and left it in the fridge for a few hours and poof it was awesome.
I like the idea of taking something raw and unusable and soaking it in seasoned oils and spices for a time. Although it seems as if nothing is happening the flavor of the marinate seeps in re-creating it into something wonderful. The work of the marinade is done in the cold, dark and confined space. It’s a lonely and cold process but the end result is life changing.
What if I took my “raw material”, the unusable and dangerous parts of my character and allowed it to be marinated? What would that look like? What would I look like?
A number of years ago my son began talking about Lent. Lent was not a tradition that I was familiar with, nor did I practice it. Many of his classmates talked about what they were “giving up for Lent” and my son wanted to know what it was about. We “googled” it and discussed it together. Lent is a discipline, a practice of changing some behavior or attitude during the Lent season prior to Easter. People “give up” something in order to gain a deeper connection with Jesus. It’s meant to call us to prayer, to learn what it means to sacrifice like Christ sacrificed for us. To make us more aware of and grow closer to the Lord in preparation for Easter so that Easter can be a celebration.
My son then said, “Mom what are you Lenting this year?” Well that began our family’s journey in “Lenting” (as we now call it).
I am Lenting again this year. I liken it to marinating, taking my raw material and giving it over to be marinated. In place of certain behaviors and comforts I choose to pray and think of Jesus and the many sacrifices He made on my behalf. I wrestle with the struggle of “giving up” something. The tension is in the “giving up” part. The practice of letting go. How I don’t like surrender.
Honestly, I don’t know what it’s doing? I’m not sure how seasoned I’m becoming?
But I am becoming more aware of what it feels like to miss something, I’m more in tune with my body and my spirit and how they really do interact with one another. And I’m thinking of Jesus every time I feel the sting of loss.