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March 2019 Associate Minister's Column by The Reverend Nathan A. Ryan

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It’s Lent. What are you planning on giving up or taking on? Growing up I learned that Lent was a time to give up something you normally consume that you know you shouldn’t – cigarettes, sugar, soda, etc. As an adult I’ve found it spiritually richer when I’ve expanded what Lenten sacrifice means.

Every year for Lent I try to find a thing to take on that will help me see the world more clearly. A mentor called it “clearing room for God.” I see it as a 40 day commitment to do something that helps make the world a little more just and a little more compassionate. It’s an attempt to see the world from a different vantage point.

This year I am not giving something up (except my time). I am going to try a writing practice. We make sense of the world through stories. When a tragedy happens, for example, we make sense by the narratives we craft. Over time, our stories tend to erode. Writing cements those stories for all time.

I am now living in my 40th year, and I’m noticing that erosion more and more each year. I plan to write each day on 10 things I remember from each year of my life. I know, I know, those first few years will be lite. That’s OK. I’ll still figure it out.

This Lenten season, what will you do to help you see this world more clearly?