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Living Lent

"Learning to love and learning what to love, learning what to hold on to and what to let go of, that’s the real work of Lent. That’s when Lent gets through to me. That’s when I stop doing Lent and Lent begins doing me."

-Michael K. Marsh

Growing up, Lent meant an extra worship service each week on Wednesday nights and the local Catholic church's Friday fish fry. Like many kids, Lent didn't mean much; it was merely a somber and not-very-fun part of church. I only counted myself lucky that I didn't have to give up treats, like many of my friends did.

Now, as an adult, my understanding of Lent is growing, and I find myself drawn to Lent and its possibility for transformation. We like to think that Lent means seasonal transformation, plodding along as snow begins to melt and crocuses poke through the earth in that one spot in the front yard that gets direct sunlight all day long. Midwesterners know, though, that Lent more often than not is the precursor to that long-awaited transformation--fur-lined beanies have served as Easter bonnets at least twice in my lifetime, along with an oddly optimistic combination of summery floral dressed paired with heavy fleece tights and, of co