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Dear Lenten Pilgrims,

We’ve all heard of CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Many of us have been trained to administer it in an emergency. Some of us may have even needed to receive it in the past.

If you’re like me, we often need a different kind of CPR, one to resuscitate a weary spirit and downcast soul. So how about considering this kind of CPR, one that you can even administer to yourself, starting today?

C: Cultivate Contentment:

Have you ever had one of those moments of nostalgia when you remember when life was easier and more joyful? All of us have. We often long to relive those memories, wishing we had now what we had back then.

So how about this? Consider the possibility that down the road, when you look back on today in the rear-view mirror, you might be actually living right now what you will consider “the good old days” tomorrow. In other words, there may be aspects of your current situation that you will not fully cherish until they are gone.

In the final episode of NBC’s The Office, a character named Andy said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” That sums it up pretty well. Count your blessings. Cultivate contentment.

P: Practice Mental Sabbaths:

Take a page out of the Jewish playbook of keeping Sabbath and designate a regular period of time to rest your mind and heart from anything that troubles you. Select several hours – or better yet, a whole day – for your mental Sabbath, in which you will not allow yourself to worry about anything, great or small.

The Israelites prepared for Sabbath by doing all of their required tasks in advance so that they could refrain from physical labor during their time of rest. How about doing the same for your mind? Cross as many stressful items off your to-do list before your Sabbath begins. Gather the scriptures, prayers, and personal effects that you will use to channel your worries away during that time.

R: Rekindle Relationships:

Relationships are wired into our being to ensure our survival. There is no greater way to combat threats – even low-level ones – than to do so in community. And, there is no better resource in your life than the relationships you foster with family and friends.

Ponder this truth: your ability to handle your worry is related to the strength of your relationships with others. In this moment, you can come up with at least a handful of loved ones with whom you have lost touch, for various reasons. Invest in those relationships, and you’ll realize that you are not alone. That sense of solidarity is a powerful antidote to worry.

I wish you well in the ways that you handle your worries, and I pray that you will recognize the constant work of God in you.

Enjoy your life.

It’s the only one you get.

Grace and Peace,