Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It’s also a year today since my mother-in-law, Norah, died. Outside, it’s snowing and there is more snow on the way. The Dafter has made it back upstairs after her breakfast, but is in a wee collapse on her bed, propped up and unable to speak for the moment. So in some ways it does seem a bit bleak today, and appropriate that it’s the start of the season (in the Christian calendar) of sacrifice and reflection.
For the past few years, I’ve done Christian Aid’s “Count Your Blessings” calendar through Lent. I like that the focus not so much on giving things up – although the idea is that you eventually give money, as you would if you gave up chocolate and gave the money you’d saved to charity – but rather on being aware of how much you already have.
Perhaps some people would find it bothersome that it presumes a very “First World” affluence, but for me, this is the reality. So for example, this week’s focus is on education. Today’s entry says “Around 24% of children of primary school age in sub-Saharan Africa and 7% in Southern Asia do not attend school. Give 30p if there is a non-fee-paying primary school where you live.” Tomorrow’s entry says “Children under-five of educated mothers – even mothers with only primary schooling – are more likely to survive than those of mothers with no education. Give thanks and praise for your education and for the doors it has opened for you professionally and personally.” I may be out of pocket on Wednesday when it asks, “Give 20p for each favourite childhood book you can still recall well.”
I also like Christian Aid’s witty slogan: “We believe in life before death”.
The past few days I’ve seen some snowdrops bravely coming up. The ones in my garden would take a professional macro lens to photograph, they are so small still. But here are some from a nearby garden. There are even some emerging crocuses:
Despite the snow and the cold, the days are definitely stretching now, and I’m pleased that we’re now working our way towards Easter and springtime generally. So much to look forward to!
I hope your week is going well!