Water meandering around rocks in Lower Cataract Lake, USA

As many Christians engage in the observance of Lent, we are drawn to two reflections that offer wisdom for these times and practices any of us can engage in, regardless of our faith.

Opening our hearts and beginning again: “Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not…” wrote Sister Joan Chittister in 2011. “Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.”

“The first challenge of Lent is to open ourselves to life. When we ‘rend our hearts’ we break them open to things we are refusing for some warped reason to even consider. We have refused for years, perhaps, to even think about renewing old commitments that we’ve allowed to go to dust…” What might those commitments be in your life? What or who might you have closed your heart to? How might you swing open the doors to the most cherished parts of your life, to the divine, the sacred, in whatever form that takes for you?

Induced meandering: In this lovely On Being post, photographer, writer, gardener, and permaculture enthusiast Erin Dunigan reminds us—even amidst the daily overwhelm of news and to dos—to take our cue from rainwater harvesting: "More than giving up or self-denial, Lent, when practiced intentionally, can allow time for self-examination, reflection, and preparation. It’s a time of slowing down, intentionally, so that life is given a chance to sink in, not just run off in so many directions. Induced meandering, if you will."

“Lent offers us … a time to observe, to pay attention, and then to act—and in so doing provide the space to move from rush to replenish.”

How might you “take a more circuitous route” down the steep hills of life? How might you let cherished moments sink in, nourish, and replenish you? Consider a commitment you can observe for 40 days.