No, not Spring, silly heads. I'm fairly certain that's canceled this year.
No, no, I'm talking about the annual return of:
* The invariable "you have something on your forehead" remarks on the kickoff date.
* The fabulous Friday Fish Fry dinners.
* The shortage on your favorite brands of pirohi and mac-and-cheese at the grocery store.
* The temporary lunch / dinner creativity challenge. Look, there are only so many ways you can serve a peanut butter sandwich or a tuna casserole, OK people?
Either way; these are all tell-tale signs of the season of introspection we Christians observe as Lent. We are currently four days deep.
For those who may be unfamiliar, lent is a roughly 40-day period preceding Easter during which billions of us all over the world enter a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It often comprises a commitment to personal sacrifice (i.e. the popular practice of "giving up" something you enjoy for 40 days) and definitely includes abstaining from meat on Fridays.
We also take this time to commemorate Christ's wisdom and the model of living He exemplified while on earth. The season culminates with a reverent celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus a/k/a Easter Sunday.
And, as we take these next 30-odd days to reflect on what it means to be sorry for wrongdoings and seek renewal by living a life in service to God and our fellow humans, I'm encouraged to note that it's not just me who takes Lent seriously.
As proof I cite the plethora of modern-day devices, platforms and vehicles hovering about - particularly in cyberspace - intended to help busy people pause to pray.
The first one is called, um, "Pausing to Pray: Lenten Reflections for Busy People" - I really did tell you so on that one.
Anyway, my girlfriend Leannah sent me the online subscription option, (flocknote.com/lent) which I accepted and voila! Now, an inspirational message comes right to my inbox each morning.
Here's an excerpt that will give you an idea of the sort of missive the experience entails: "In order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one's soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God. One can speak a great deal without breaking silence and, on the contrary, one can speak little and be constantly breaking silence."
Then there's the "Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes" video on YouTube, another handy Lenten tool. Think of it as "Lent for Dummies," if you will, and you can find it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3L3c23MfC0.
For those who prefer Facebook, check out the page of Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris; you can even like him! He recently posted: "For Lent, I find it helpful to give up and then add something for all three parts of our being (mind, body and soul)."
And hey, if you still have questions, you can always take to Twitter at catholiconline@catholiconline for some heavenly hash tags.
Indeed there are lots of Lenten reinforcements out there, folks so don't complain about a lack of info. In fact, complaining (et al) is what I've given up for Lent. I'm trying to be kind and giving in word, thought and deed. And don't mock my efforts or you'll be eating tuna casserole for lunch AND dinner.
---- Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who is trying hard to be a better person - but only for 40 days. #JUSTKIDDING #WANTTOBEABETTERME.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.