And thus Fat Tuesday retreats into non-existence and we are left, once again, with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
We have traditionally been a Lent observing family, though it wasn’t until this year that I actually did some digging to find out more about what it meant.
To me, it meant giving something up from Ash Wednesday to Easter. You would deny yourself something you enjoyed to remind you of the suffering Jesus went through before being crucified. And then it morphed into giving up something you liked to better yourself. So then I furthered developed it into generally bettering yourself in those weeks between Mardi Gras and Easter.
But, it turns out, traditionally it really has nothing to do with the individual bettering themselves at all. It really is about fasting, self-denial, and penitence. That made me feel a little foolish about my choices for lent this year. I decided there is nothing that I am willing to give up that I can continue to give up on my honeymoon (which falls smack dab in the middle of the season). If you can’t do it the whole time, then should you bother doing it under the guise of lent? So I opted for the bettering of myself through additions, rather than subtractions, this year.
I promised to start my day everyday with a little bit of yoga. Instead of hitting the snooze button “just one more time”, I will get up and use that 9 minutes to do a little stretching, or a balance pose or two. So far, success! I have more energy when I get to work which is good. I have been with the company the longest of our team, and I get in 30 minutes to an hour after everyone but my boss (who comes in 30 minutes after me) so they have already been milling over a difficult question they got early in the morning and assault me with it before I even make it across the room to my office. With just that littlest bit of yoga in the morning, I find that I am more pleasant when considering my response and not as grumbly as I used to be pre-coffee.
And I promised to end my days by keeping in better touch with my family. I am not good about calling people. I have no idea what is going on in the lives of my siblings or their families. How are Cor’s jobs? Does she still work at both? How does Cak like her new apartment? Are there any backlashes from the recent accident? What has Round-Eye been up to? So, I’ve been calling my family this week. If I haven’t called you yet, get ready because it’s coming soon. I will only be out of the country for 6 nights, so I’ll be calling folks at the airport I’m sure but on the honeymoon, will continue my yoga and call the Huz.
And then I did a little more digging on the definition of lent. Many modern Protestants consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, rather than an obligation. They may decide to give up a favorite food or drink (e.g. chocolate, alcohol) or activity (e.g., going to the movies, playing video games, etc.) for Lent, or they may instead take on a Lenten discipline such as devotions, volunteering for charity work, and so on. And so I feel a little less silly about not giving anything up this year.
What are you doing for lent?