Updated: Apr 7
In the past two weeks on our blog, Maryanne and I have been thinking and writing about preparing for the new year. I looked at what preparation means through the lens of watching my daughter ride horses—how to prepare for a successful ride. Maryanne talked about how her family prepares for camping. Both are very different experiences that require forethought and anticipation of needs and issues that may come along the way.
We are now looking forward to preparing for another journey that is coming just around the corner—Lent. During our conversation last week, our dear friend and mentor Bob (welcome, friends of Bob!) reminded us that 70 days preceding Lent used to be called Septuagesima, starting on the 3rd Sunday before Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on February 13. The time of preparation for Lent (which in itself is a preparation for Easter) is almost here. Let’s prepare for the preparation!
Our theme for this year’s Lenten season is Relentless Lent.
We love all the possibilities the word “relentless” presents to us. Here are just a few words that describe its meaning:
persisting, unyielding, constant, unwavering, persevering, purposeful, untiring, lasting, steady.
In this time before Lent, we will tap into the many meanings of “relentless.” We will look at what makes meaningful, sustaining habits and virtues and how these can help guide our hearts and minds during Lent.
Here is an “Aha!” moment I had about what it means to be relentless today. Maybe it shouldn’t come as surprise that it was another lesson from my daughter’s horseback riding:
This morning, she was working with a horse, going over jumps. At one point, her trainer changed the course and asked my daughter to go over a new jump. As she approached the jump, the horse refused to go over and stopped right in front of it. She tried again. The horse refused. And again, another refusal. And again. I thought “this is not going to happen today, why not give her and the horse a break and do a different course that doesn’t include this jump?” However, my daughter and her trainer knew something I didn’t: you cannot let the horse get away with not listening. You have to keep at it, practicing over and over until he makes it over the jump. Every other horse in the arena has to stop and wait. All lessons are halted until you get the job done, no matter how long it takes. If you don’t, the horse learns a bad habit and it will be so much harder to undo the damage of giving up too early. She got the horse to jump over on the 6th try, and everybody cheered! She was relentless!
What comes to your mind when you see the word relentless? What lessons have you been through where you had to be unwavering, persistent, purposeful and untiring?
Maryanne and I are excited about these coming weeks of preparation, learning, and imagining how we can live out this calling during the Lenten season and how we can take those lessons with us into the future.
Won’t you join us?