Lent can be a good time for reflection

Zoë Donovan, Columnist

The pious Ash Wednesday has passed, overshadowing the parties of Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras.

Those of us who were raised Catholic can feel a sort of sentimentality to the days, even if we no longer attend church or believe the teachings. The paczkis are also always a welcome treat.

Lent is meant to be a time of sacrifice, to give up something, be it time, money or some other thing. Given that so much of my life in the past looked at these upcoming six weeks as a battle or something in my faith, it’s difficult to entirely pull myself away from tradition while keeping my distance from the religious aspects.

The last few years I’ve turned lent into a sort of New Years revamp to my goals, to look at where I’ve slacked off on my resolutions and re-evaluate my plans for the next year. Is my sign language practice lacking? I’ll add an extra hour to my practice each week, have I noticed more dust in my room? Maybe I should take a day or two to deep clean.

I spent most of my childhood in catholic school, and the anxiety that comes around this time based on the traditions can make it difficult to feel good about either myself or my surroundings.

Sometimes just taking an hour a week to meditate can help to ease the mind, to take a short break and focus inward. Religion can be a difficult subject for a lot of people, for several reasons, but growing up in it and then leaving it behind can be difficult around the holidays that follow. Those traditions and associations still exist in the mind.

For some, religion is a comfort; for others it does nothing but cause frustration, anxiety and feelings of isolation, ostracism or judgment. It’s a highly personal endeavor to join or leave a religion. I think the indoctrination of children into church causes more pain than anything else, and the anxiety that comes later in life to those who grew up in those situations can be lifelong.

So to my fellow recovering Catholics out there, and anyone else, remember to keep your chin up, if you need to do something do something that helps you grow as a person, learn a new skill or pick back up the resolution you slacked on a month ago and of course enjoy the upcoming Friday fish fry.

Zoë Donovan is a junior journalism major. They can be reached at 581–2812 or at [email protected].