There are lots of ways to remember and repent during Lent. Some people give up meat or chocolate. I used to give up caffeine during Lent. Unfortunately, life without it makes me an angry shadow of myself. Since it usually played out as the opposite of a spiritual discipline, I now give up giving up caffeine for Lent.
Some use a Lenten devotional book. Others are taking one picture each day that speaks to a different Lent-y word. And more are using a list - one little thing each day - that reframes daily life in the light of God's gift.
I was still trying to decide what my Lenten discipline was going to be well into Lent. And then I realized it's Jasper. He has three favorite phrases right now and they mark up my days with pause and gratitude:
Look at my animals! They're dancing on the table. They're making animal noises. They're being silly. Now look at them flying off the table all over the kitchen. Look at them scattered around and under the refrigerator, Mommy. Look in the oven - you can see what's cooking because the light is on! Look in the trash can at all the pretty colors. Look at what I threw in there when you weren't looking - even though I told you to look! Look at how I see the world - everything is alive. Everything has a story. I want you to see things the way I do and I want you to think they're wonderful, too!
And so I do. I look when he invites me to look.
Sit down, please.
Play Legos with me. Sing "This Little Light of Mine" and play the banjo while you cross your eyes and act silly. Get low to the ground so you can't see all the dishes in the sink or the laundry that needs folding on the bed. Sit down with me while we make things together and read books and get the giggles tickling each other. Sit down because then you might lie down - and if you lie down, you can give me a Superman ride on your feet. I am three feet tall, Mommy, and I want you to take a break from all the things up there that keep you distracted and on the move. If you come down here, I can show you the birdseed bin and you'll know that I want to fill up the feeder. Sit down so you can be with me.
And so I do. I sit down when he invites me to sit down.
I carry you.
I say this when the sidewalk gets really icy and I need a ride. I say this when I'm tired and needy. Pick me up and take me with you wherever you go. I want to come along and I'll keep busy people-watching from your lap or coloring on the floor. I carry you, Mommy, even though you're the one carrying me. I will hold you up when you're spread thin by balancing you out and making you embrace the beautiful chaos that life brings. I will carry you by snuggling into your neck and touching your face. You will pick me up and I will say, "Oh my, Mommy!" and touch your cheek. And then I will wrap my arms around you for a hug and pat you on the back like an old pal. And it will make you laugh and squeeze me. And you will realize that you are carrying me, but I am carrying you, too.
And he does. He so he does in little, unexpected ways.
Jasper, thank you for helping me see this Lent. Thank you for inviting me to sit down. And thank you for being 25 pounds of joy to carry around. You lighten every load...except the one in your pants.