The 40 days of Lent are a time of Christian sacrifice and reflection.
Instead of giving something up, however, Illinois mom Jessey Eagan decided to walk in the footsteps of her Muslim friends by wearing a hijab.
Eagan, who previously spent time working in Jordan with her husband, Jeff, has several close female Muslim friends who keep their hair covered.
After seeing that Islam is often met with prejudice, she decided to get her own rough idea of what life might be like for those practicing the religion.
The Peoria resident – who's now on day 14 – told Vocativ she hopes to widen her own perspective on the way Muslims in America are treated, saying,
In reminding myself what being an outsider is like, I can learn to better love and serve them — Muslim or otherwise.
The blonde, blue-eyed woman has been granted full access to a friend's hijab drawer as well as the support of her local Muslim community.
Eagan blogs each day's experiences, cataloging both the side glances and kind responses she receives in public.
Eagan's Lenten commitment is unusual.
She publicly defended her Lenten practice as a daily way to empathize with others, not an attention-seeking ploy.
She seems to have only the best intentions.
Eagan said, "The last thing I want to do is offend. I am trying to break down cultural barriers, and I've found that this is a very simple way to do it."
"...I hope that people will understand that, and maybe walk along with me in this journey."
The experience makes Eagan recall her sojourn in Amman, where being a fair-skinned Christian woman earned her plenty of strange looks.
On Eagan's blog, she reports the experience has been largely positive so far.
In fact, she's more likely to catch herself stereotyping than being stereotyped, using that moment as an opportunity for reflection.
She writes about a particular in an incident where she expected harassment from the driver of an oversize pickup truck, only to see a "Coexist" bumper sticker on the fender.
She's even worn a three-piece "burkini" swimsuit to a local YMCA pool, seemingly reveling in the chance to try something new.
Citations: Why This Christian Woman Is Wearing Hijab For Lent (Vocativ)