As you may have noticed (or maybe not and that is my ego talking) my blog has been a bit silent. So has my other social media outlets. I gave up posting for Lent.
I did this last year and decided I really needed those lessons in a new year in a new life. Again, I still replied to things and sent a few reTweets, but I refrained from posting my ideas and comments.
Lent began nearly my second day in D.C. and it wasn’t until the following Sunday that I chose this as my sacrifice. Whether we give up chocolate or TV or social media, we will never come close to the divine sacrifices that encourage us to abstain from what we consider vices, but refraining can teach us a lot.
My ultimate decision to give up posting came from my obsession over how people will react to whatever I post. How many likes did I get? Did he understand that that passive aggressive statement was for him? I don’t think I am alone in this. We use social media to present a better version of ourselves, hoping that will get to other people. It’s heartbreaking when the only connection you have with some people is their Facebook page.
This time of year is often very reflective of the weather, Lent coming during the final dirty pangs of winter to reveal Easter and spring and new hope. It’s been a harsh winter, biting white storms on the inside and out.
Rather than find love and self worth through social media, a forsaking source that more often than not leaves us feeling worse about ourselves, I tried to find solace and comfort in any place that would offer it other than online. I prayed for the people on the street, like the woman talking about the love who left her and the mother scooping her daughter into a kiss. I took photos of lost items on the street. I interrupted runs for meditation. I woke up early to write before work and traded mindless television watching for well-written books. I sent messages out to those I love. I tried really, really hard to focus hard on those that matter and care about me rather than those that I wish did.
Some days the sun shined I felt love beaming out of my fingertips. Other days I had to claw out of dark caves only to find there was no helping hand at the rim and the only way to get out was to boost myself over the edge.
But the light has come. It’s Easter morning and joy echoes throughout. The hardships of the last 40 days prove not to be in vain for there comes a miraculous resurrection, of the Lord and ourselves.
I think this is more of an appropriate time to set resolutions than the New Year. We’ve been preparing ourselves to let go of things that no longer serve us and this Sunday, every year, after 40 dark days, we are shown that we can live without those things and on other side is much more glory.
So my goal is to let go. Let go of what and who brings me tears and know that I may feel like I am falling but I will land into something my soul deserves.
Naturally, I have the perfect symbolic anecdote.
When I returned home from Niger, my hair started to fall out and break off. It was quiet unhealthy when I went to Lesotho and it got worse for a while. After about six months in country, someone remarked that I had cut my hair, tears formed, no, it’s falling out. By the end, though, it was healthy and full again. That is, till I came home.
The last few months I’ve tried different things to nurture it back to life but it was stringy and stale. Every day I hated the way I looked and an unpleasing head allowed me to see other imperfections, which of course heightened my gloomy days.
I’ve thought about cutting it for a while, but I’ve been afraid. Up until about five years ago, I’ve always worn my hair short and it took a long time for it to grow this long. I liked putting it up and the extra style flexibility of more hair. The longer locks seemed like a great representation of how much I had changed since college and to chop them off seemed like a reversion to an old self.
But I couldn’t deny how unhealthy my hair was and it didn’t even look good up. I was on a train to the Nats stadium when I decided to cut it. I got to the bar where I was meeting my friends so I Yelped a salon and had an appointment within minutes.
I was very scared that I was making a terrible mistake and that my stylist would give me a horrendous cut. Maybe unhealthy stringy hair is better than an awful haircut, I tried to reason. There are other places in my life where I should let go and walk away, so I sat in that chair yesterday and didn’t look back when she snapped inches off, hoping this would give me the courage I need.
Immediately, my hair came back to life. The curls that I thought had disappeared came back in full joyful force. Also, instantly, I felt more beautiful than I had in months.
It was not serving me to have a head full of dead hair. It is not serving me to base my self worth on others’ opinions of me, online or in person. It is not serving me to allow undeserving people and situations force me into an unhappy place.
And so I let go of all of it. Now, here, on Easter Sunday, before I go to mass and celebrate returns. I let go and prepare for the new.
Every year we are reminded of the resurrection no one believed would come. There was little faith that this miracle could even happen. But it did and we rejoiced.
Our own miracles will come, and life is simply so much more joyful when we have faith in that.
Happy Easter, my precious ones.