So, when a friend posts on Facebook, the equivalent to mailing a letter to 400 of your closest friends that is then more than likely mailed on to their friends, saying he or she is sick and coughing up a lung, we all respond sympathetically.
We say we’re sorry. We write back “Try Vicks Vapor Rub on your feet.” We offer encouraging words. Or I hope we do.
And when one announces he or she is sick and isn’t likely to recover from this sickness, we gasp at the bravery, sheer courage, of admitting, very publicly, the end is coming. There are many out there, even now, getting prepared for it, ashes to ashes.
Death is an inevitable part of life. As they say, we don’t make it out alive, so preparing for it may be a very wise thing to do. But ours, and others. We have to be intent. We have to live in such a way that lets others know they are important to us.
That’s sort of what Lent, these weeks before Easter, is about. Preparation.
For many people throughout the world this time of year is a time for reflection, self-evaluation. Saying you’re sorry. Sometimes this reflection occurs near our birthdays, as we reflect where we were on the previous year’s birthday and what we’ve seen, done, said and accomplished since.
Sometimes this self-evaluation occurs near the year’s beginning as we reflect upon the previous year, and think about what we hope the new year brings.
We’re about nine or so weeks into the year and a few weeks into the 2017 Lenten season. My reflections during these first weeks of Lent have helped me decide I need to go give a friend a hug. And get one, too.
I don’t see this friend often anymore, but I stalk her on Facebook. We exchange “likes” and “comments” and stay connected, though the things that brought us together have changed, time has marched on, and we are not actively in one another’s lives.
But she knows she’s dying. And I want to say goodbye. We don’t always have that opportunity. And I want to take it, while I can. And she and her family are making as many memories as possible She is living, and dying, well.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, was all about ashes, a reminder of the mortality of human beings. Place ashes in the sign of the cross on a forehead and it is a reminder of the forgiveness of sins.
Whatever you believe about Lent and whether it’s a significant part of your life, any week is a good one in which to take stock and reflect about where you’ve been and where you’re going.