Create Space

As a convert to Catholicism, this year is my ninth season observing Lent.

My Godmother, Saint Rene as she’s known around our house, taught me that Lent is not just about giving something up. Sacrifice comes in all kinds of ways, she would say. Give of your time, your routine, your comforts – it doesn’t have to mean 40 days with no caffeine or TV or video games. So I’ve tried to make her proud by always doing something a little out of the norm.

I have a tendency to start things and never complete them, so one year I had to finish something every day for 40 days. That journey included reading the end of books I had started months before, emptying bottles of body wash and conditioner I’d abandoned when I bought new ones, and wrapping up craft projects that had been left halfway through when I had gotten bored with them.

Another year I gave up 15 minutes a day to write someone a letter, on actual paper, and then put it in the mail. That was way harder than it sounds. But it was 15 minutes – or more, many times – that I disconnected with the computer and reconnected with people – and ultimately with myself and with God.

I also tend to be a procrastinator and wait for inspiration to begin things, so this morning at 6:30 when we were sitting at Mass I decided it was time to start thinking about what I would do for Lent this year. We had already agreed to eliminate several things from our diets until Easter, but I was craving something more. Then, in a tiny voice I heard the words, “create” and “space.” I didn’t know if this message was intended as, “create space,” “Create. Space.” “createspace,” or something entirely different. But I knew that’s what I was supposed to do – in whatever form it took.

I came home from Mass and rather than settling into my office and starting my workday, I found myself in our master bedroom closet. It was a disaster, and had been for a while. There were clothes, shoes, dry cleaning bags and hangers everywhere. There was two feet of chaos covering the floor. Ninety minutes later, after taking five bags of winter clothes and suitcases to the basement and packing two boxes of items to donate, the only things touching the floor were shoes and the hamper.

I felt energized, vibrant and accomplished. Creating space in our closet had given me more space to create in my mind.

Later in the day I emailed a friend and told her about my epiphany on this first day of Lent. After I hit send, I scrolled through my Facebook news feed. Another friend had shared a link to a blog post entitled, “What Legos Taught Me about Lent.” Not having kids at home, meh, I don’t care much about Legos. But I took a look anyway. And do you know what I read? Lent is, “…not about punishment, and it's not about denial. It's about righting our hearts, creating space in our lives for the things that matter.”

Creating space in our lives for the things that matter.

Creating space.

And now, I’m looking forward to the next 39 days – to finding out what more will be revealed to me when I take more time to create space in our home, in my life, and in my heart. 

Read "What Legos Taught Me about Lent" at


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