I have frequently heard it said that if you do not have some way to prepare for the Easter celebration during Lent, God will provide one for you.
(If you do not believe in God, or religious seasons, or spiritual exercise, please forgive me for speaking my mind.)
This year, my Lent was overshadowed by the visceral panic proceeding a routine colonoscopy. I knew it was on its way before Lent; I had about half a plan for a spiritual exercise, but when it came down to a day to day discipline, I could not follow it because I was so lost in horror. I tried to redirect by reading the Seven Penitential Psalms from the Bible each day, but the effort was hollow, and my Lenten resolve was pointless.
Nevertheless, it has been a good Lent. I would have preferred to have done something positive, but failing to do so, my lot has been to have trials of fear set before me, so that my only recourse was to throw myself on the mercy of God. The outburst of painful itchies as a result of my fear has shown me how frail my faith in God really is, how flabby my spirituality has become. And the cold that kept me from being the best song-leader in the parish -- well, I suspect my ego needed taken down a peg or two.
Not introspective by nature, I find that Lent provides me with a time to examine my way of interacting with the world, inspecting my nature in the light of the infinite goodness of Creation; Lent calls me to shed my self-sufficiency and immerse myself in how much I need the people around me, how much sustenance I need to seek in God's grace.
Lent's message to me? I've got a long way to go. Let's get crackin'.