Ready or not, here it comes.

It’s that time of year again.  It’s the week before Ash Wednesday, and it’s suddenly a dash to self-evaluate habits, priorities, and routines and, through some spiritual introspection that probably should be a daily occurence and not a 4th quarter scramble, figure out a game plan for the next forty days.

Oreos magically appeared in the breakroom this morning, so naturally I began thinking of giving up snacking between meals, mid-chew of a happy birthday Oreo that just wasn’t worth the energy it took to put in my mouth.  I dumped a french vanilla coffeemate pod into my mug, and while deciding that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with non-refrigerated cream, thought maybe I should start drinking coffee black.  I walked back to my office, upset that I was sleepy even though I re-set my alarm and missed early morning Mass, and decided I needed to relocate my alarm clock across the room so that my bed was easier to exit at 5am.

So what is the game plan?  I need to figure it out, and soon.  I know I need to give up something that is hard enough to make me really desire Easter.  I know it’s been a lazy Lent when it goes by quickly or when Easter is just another Sunday to me.  At the same time, I need to do something that’s doable, or it’s not going to last.  That year I tried to give up electricity after sundown?  Yeah, didn’t work.

I know I need to be creative.  Elizabeth Scalia has some great points about how our brains are turning to mush and how Lent is our opportunity to begin to change that. I agree 100%.  Reading more and staring a screen less would definitely make me a better person.  The idea of a social media fast is aluring, but not practical with my job.  Perhaps I need to tweak it a bit to make it useful.

I’m all about giving up the normal things… chocolate, alcohol, etc etc etc.  I don’t buy that whole “don’t give up something, do something!” thing.  That was a fad when I was growing up, and it’s just not Catholic.  Being Catholic is both-and.  Yes, do something. But give something up, too.  I’ve learned the beauty of the fast-feast interplay over the past several years, and while it’s material for another post, suffice it to say that Judeo-Christian tradition for the last 3,000 years knows what it’s doing.

So I’ll be fasting from something good.  That’s important.  Self-discipline is definitely a virtue I need to work on these days.  But maybe I also need to give up something whose complete absence would actually make me a better person.  Maybe something I won’t splurge on come Easter.  You know, actually develop virtue over the next 40 days, that might sustain into the next fifty or a hundred?



2 thoughts on “Ready or not, here it comes.

    • Joannie says:

      No, not heat. But anything that plugged in… And lights. It was only on Tuesdays. And it was an attempt to live by the sun. Some catholic blogger did it… But I almost set myself on fire trying to do something by candlelight and gave up. Haha.

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