A time to reflect, no matter what you believe

Red Velvet Pancakes IHOP
Red Velvet Pancakes from IHOP

It’s Pancake Day, a Lenten tradition with roots in the Jewish history of the Christian tradition.

On the day before Passover in observant Jewish homes, the family cleans thoroughly and uses or removes any food that has leaven in it. It’s a symbolic way to let go of old life and embrace the new. Christians morphed this idea into Pancake Day, a time to use up eggs and fats in decadent foods before the deprivation of Lenten fasts began.

Few people I know “give up” anything for Lent anymore.

  • Some have abandoned organized religion because they see only the harm that it can cause.
  • Others are still a part of a faith community but don’t “give up” because they see that as punitive instead of inspirational.
  • Still others don’t “give up” something they love in a way that feels like deprivation or punishment. They examine their lives to find something that is not feeding them mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually, and they give themselves “freedom from” that harmful element.

The minister at my church says Lent is like the time between when a seed is planted and when it sprouts. You know the seed needs to be nourished, but you can’t see any signs of new life yet.

No matter what you believe, this time of year is good for reflection. It’s a time to ponder what you can give yourself freedom from, or what you could take up instead.

Whether you eat pancakes tonight or not, take some time to plant a seed. Nourish it until new life grows.

What kind of sprouts do you want to see?

A field of sprouting corn stalks

8 thoughts on “A time to reflect, no matter what you believe

  1. marianbeaman

    Today is Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food that you give up for the long Lenten season. Thank you for reminding me of the meaning of Lent. Like your minister said: “You know the seed needs to be nourished, but you can’t see any signs of new life yet.”

    I want to see sprouts of truth and hope and love today. I might as well plant some!
    Thanks, Arlene!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I didn’t get to enjoy too much “Fat” on Fat Tuesday. I had to work late and my whole family is travelling so I was on my own. Sort of a let-down, really. But, if Lent is about thinking about what’s important, having my whole family away made me realize how important they are!

  2. Ally Bean

    I found you via Marian’s blog, so “Hi!”

    I agree with you that blogging is all about authenticity and it’s easy to spot the fakes. I also agree that regardless of what you believe, this time of year is a great time to reflect on what has been, what will be– and how you fit into it all. Your minister’s take on Lent rings true with me.

    Again, just stopping by to introduce myself.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Nice to (virtually) meet you. I popped over to your blog to have a look – fun and inviting. I like that you post regularly but not too often. I stick with bloggers who write good posts about once a week. Anything more than that and it’s TOO MUCH. I can’t handle it all.

      1. Ally Bean

        Thanks for stopping by my blog to visit. I enjoy personal blogging, but can only devote so much time to it. I live, then blog– not blog to live.

  3. Sheryl

    In the area where I grew up, people made doughnuts on the day before Lent. I can also remember people sometimes giving up meat for Lent when I was a child.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Doughnuts! Also a good plan if getting rid of eggs and fat was the plan. And, yes, I have some friends who give up meat for the 40 days.
      Everyone has to follow their own path. What’s important spending mindful time on that path.


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