Lent is coming. It starts Wednesday.
I find myself deeply apathetic about Lent this year. Living what often feels like an "always Lent, but never Easter" (or to quote C.S. Lewis, "always winter, but never Christmas") life makes it hard to get excited about the official season of Lent. Lent is a season of sacrifice, of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, but when you are constantly living a season of sacrifice, trying to surrender your hopes and dreams to Him, giving up foods you enjoy, things you enjoy doing, using your limited resources for doctors and medicines, biting your tongue and struggling to be charitable and generous when people say stupid and hurtful things, it is hard to find something else to do during the season of Lent.
Here are some of the suggestions (and my snarky answers):
- Give up snacking? Are you volunteering to clean up after I've thrown up? What you call snacking, I call attempting to manage nausea.
- Give up kissing? Do you really want to make intercourse more mechanical and less unitive than it already is?
- Use your weekends to babysit for free? You really don't want to go there.
- At dinner each evening, have each member of your family share something they are grateful for? Two things - that'd be over in 30 seconds. (I know this is meant to be a great conversation starter, mostly amongst families with children, and a great way to talk about what is important and what we value. But I don't think the cats have much to offer this discussion.)
- Alcohol? I can't say I drink often, but there are times that I really need that glass of wine. The alternative is having a screaming/crying fit - or saying something very uncharitable. Just promising myself a glass of wine later can keep my tongue in check. I think I'll keep the wine.
- Being picky - eat whatever is set before you? Lady, I haven't given up normal foods for fun; there's a medical reason for it. And I'd rather not end up making myself sick eating something that turns my stomach even more (vomiting at the dinner table is so passé).
- Give up gossiping? You might not have noticed, but my life is somewhat akin to that of a hermit. Who would I gossip to, much less about?
- Spend half an hour a day in meaningful conversation with your spouse? Umm - who do you think I talk to? Alright, yes, I spend a lot of time talking to the cats, but I talk to Husbandido even more than that.
I could go on, but I'll spare you.
Here are some of the things I/we already do: monthly donations to the food bank (Husbandido's office has a collection the last Friday of each month), monthly donations to our Parish and now the Diocesan Capital Campaign, being generous to those in our families who are struggling (even when those struggles are a result of their own choices), weekly Bible study, consuming almost no caffeine (I cut way back when we started TTC), being GF, wasting as little as possible (yup, even those overcooked noodles get eaten, and if it can't possibly be eaten [hello, mold], we compost it), regular prayer.
Here's what I had already decided to do for Lent: reading daily Lenten reflections from Father Barron (you can sign up here) and going to a weekly series exploring the 7 Deadly Sins & 7 Lively Virtues at our parish, using the Father Barron series). I'm not sure if I should do more or be content with that; I'm trying to be aware of my own limitation while still listening for what He is asking me to do.
What are you doing for Lent?