Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “spirituality”

Lenten Promises

Somewhat lapsed Catholic here on Ash Wednesday. I saw somewhat because there are so many tenets of the religion that I believe in wholeheartedly and yet others ( their stance on women’s roles, divorce, and abortion, to name a few) that I wholeheartedly disagree with. Pope Francis’ views and public opinions on some of these topics have given me hope during a time when I’m questioning my spiritual life, what that means to me, how I practice it, and so on.

Even though I don’t make it to church every Sunday ( I have opinions on this as well), I hold my spiritual life as an important part of who I am. I pray on a regular basis and hold many of my Catholic beliefs as important in my life, though as I’m learning and exploring about religions, I’ve come to see that so many of these tenets are more Christian beliefs than Catholic specifically.

Every year for Lent I choose to give up something and many years that thing I’m abstaining from sticks. When I was in high school I gave up soda for Lent, something that, minus a bad migraine that only a cold Coca-Cola will fix or a ginger ale to sooth a tummy ache, has stuck. I gave up Candy Crush Saga two years ago and haven’t played since ( or even been interested!). This year, I’m abstaining from pizza because it has become too much of a meal crutch for Q and I ( though we had it last night and it was DELICIOUS).

This year, in addition to no pizza, I’m also trying to follow a bit of what Pope Francis said on the topic of Lent as well. I’m going to really work on my kindness- to others, to myself, to the world around me. I want to turn my head to indifference not just because I care about people, but because I realize I could care so much more. It’s something I hope to make mindful of over the next forty days instead of being so picky about not eating meat on Fridays ( a silly man made rule, for the record). And like the soda habit I kicked many years ago, I hope being more compassionate and kind is a habit that sticks past Lent.


In my “cultivate” year ( my theme/word for 2015), one of the areas I identified as needing cultivation was my spiritual life. It’s something that was long on my mind even before the death of Dad, but ever since, it’s something I think about fairly frequently.

I was raised Roman Catholic and was very involved in the church growing up beyond my religious education classes. I participated in the youth group, taught a few CCD classes, went on spiritual retreats, and so on. I regularly attended Mass through high school, but lapsed through college and grad school. I started going back when I was dating my ex-husband who took his religion fairly seriously. It was one of the main reasons we didn’t live together before we were married, though both of these points are topics for another day. We were married in a full Catholic ceremony and mass in the local cathedral with all the pomp and circumstance of a formal Catholic wedding. We made a new family tradition of going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve ( though it seems a lot of churches are not doing this anymore?!?)

From the time my marriage fell apart until the day of my Dad’s funeral, I had not been to church. And honestly, I haven’t since, with the one exception being a memorial Mass for my father about 2 months after his death. I think about going a lot, but haven’t made it yet.

All that being said, I consider myself a very spiritual person. While I don’t subscribe to many of the beliefs of the Catholic Church, I still hold true to so many of the values and ideals. I pray nightly. I’ve lately been thinking of spirituality as a process and somewhat of a road map that helps me through tough times or to provide comfort/explanation when there often is no reasoning. It’s personal to me and my life experience, and as I grow/adapt in life, I’m finding how I want that spiritual practice to fit in.


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