I keep attempting to write about the end of Lent and 40 Days of Water. Starting, erasing, getting distracted by Twitter and the Internet in general, telling myself I should give up and go to bed… and so it goes. I’m not really sure what to say, but having caffeine buzzing in my system again is probably not helping.

So, 40 Days. I did it. Moderately successfully. I failed and restarted and failed again, but in the end saved just over $100 to help Blood:Water Mission build wells in Africa. Sobering. Amazing. Humbling.

Along with that, I picked up the good habit of water-drinking along the way, so much that I didn’t even go to Starbucks until today, and then a plain iced coffee was more like a shot of pure caffeine in the arm. Even got a little bit of a headache off of it… not exactly the effect I was expecting. (traitor.) I still start my mornings with a big glass of water, so I’m hoping that’s a habit that will stick around.

It makes me wonder though, if Lent is about awareness, transformation, and a constant dying to self, what happens when the sacrifice becomes normal life?

The days after Easter are so strange sometimes… sort of bittersweet, like the days after Christmas. Since early March, we’ve been in the thick of waiting, anticipation, and it all comes to a head at Holy Week. We walk through the week before Jesus’ death; we mourn on Good Friday. (or I guess in our knowing the end of the story way, rejoice? I’m still trying to figure this day out.) Saturday is a day to prepare and reflect, and Sunday comes, all sunrise and song, and the celebration of new life and death working backwards is here.

Then Monday comes. Then what? Go back to the way things were? It’s not like I can flip a switch and be who I was when I started the journey.

Ah, so maybe that’s the truest lesson of Lent (and life in general): You can’t come through the other side unchanged.

Even if you don’t know the change is happening. Especially then.

Sometimes I beat myself up during Lent. Silently, but still, I suspect my motives, wonder if it’s all pride and self-righteousness, and let myself get frustrated that I’m not feeling more of the stuff I’m “supposed” to feel. You know… spiritual, deep, thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice every time I forgo whatever little luxury I kicked, or telling myself I could do more. Then I feel guilty for thinking about myself so much and start wondering if this whole thing is a dumb idea. And so it goes… stupid vicious cycles.

But it’s okay. Really. I’m learning that there is no “supposed” to feel and that “doing more” is counter-intuitive to everything this week represents. It’s an ongoing journey toward something resembling faithfulness. The giving up of small things is a symbol of something greater, and because we’re only human, there’s always more to give, more to grow.

We don’t have to do it all at once. And thank God, we’re not supposed to.

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Today’s post at Halfway to Normal “An Imperfect Belief” says a lot of good things about those after Easter feelings as well. Honestly, this is what got me thinking… sometimes you can’t put words to something until someone else does. Thanks Kristin.

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