… and a dollar short.
I could say that Lent snuck up on me this year. But that would imply that I normally have my act together in terms of Lent. Lent always sneaks up on me. It is a season that has always been mysterious to me. In high school, I had friends who were Catholic. Ash Wednesday they came to school with smears on their foreheads that even they were at a loss to fully explain. We made jokes about giving up ketchup or something silly. But somehow we knew were making the sacred, profane.
Later on, I thought about using the time to give up bad habits that I knew were harmful to me in an attempt to rid my life of them. Cigarettes. Chocolate. Beer. Alcohol. The problem was I didn’t really know what I was doing or why. So I would think really hard about doing it and pretty soon the season would pass and with it the thoughts. I have yet to give up chocolate or beer. I simply reserve them for really special times and have really good chocolate or beer.
Then I gave up on Lent altogether. I just couldn’t understand it. The church tradition I was a part of had no teaching on it. And, I was quite busy with other things. It was an old tradition for other people. It was no part of my life and I had no need of it.
Then I read a really good book about a year or so ago, called Sacred Rhythms (updated and now called GodSpace), by Christine Sine. In this book, Christine writes about the rhythms of our lives and the heartbeats that we live to. I’ve been pondering where the rhythms are in my life and the life of my family. How does the tide run in and out? What are the larger circadian rhythms and the smaller orbits that we follow? The church seasons impact us and the larger holy days provide markers; those being Christmas and Easter.
Which brings me back to Lent and the preparation for Easter. What will we give up? What will we add? How will we use this forty day period to bring us closer to the orbit of God. In some ways, the Pantry Challenge 2007 was a wonderful preparation. It has changed our view of meals and food in ways that are hard to quantify and verbalize. But I think as I’m moving forward to into 2007 one of my key words for the year will be “simplify” or “enough” … that is, that I and we have enough. Like our pantry, our home is similarly overloaded and groaning with excess.
This Lent I would like to live as we did during the Pantry Challenge. That is, with what we have and to evaluate that bounty against what we need. I want to begin to give a lot of it away to those who might need it more than we. My desire is to live with less. I want to begin to go through our “stuff” a little each day of these 40 days and have it leave our home for good, without the desire to replace it.
I say all of this as I leave for a quilt show. The main attraction is the vendor hall. Filled with fabric calling my name. There is a (very) little which I do need to purchase in order to make this quilt for a class on Sunday:
But … I have so much fabric, that if I were better prepared, I ought not to need even this. So I’m purchasing the fabric I need for this quilt. And two other pieces I need for quilts already in progress. These are pre-planned purchases. My heart is feeling faint as I write this. Please, if you read this, pray for me this weekend.
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