Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Different Lent

It's absolutely snowing like mad outside, a near-whiteout of huge whirling flakes. According to the radar it isn't actually snowing at all, and the forecast was for less than an inch of accumulation. We've had at least three, by my sidewalk reckoning, and it doesn't appear to be stopping soon. My daughter has been off school three days and has almost no likelihood of going tomorrow, when the high for the day is 9. (Our average high this time of year is 50. Around here schools are often delayed for temperatures below 10, because we have them so rarely that kids really don't have the appropriate outwear.) My daughter is getting a little (lot) stir-crazy. I, on the other hand, am in heaven (except for the barn chores). I really like to hibernate now and then. Everything in my week has been cancelled, and there is damn-all I can do about it so I may as well be happy.

It's Ash Wednesday. I nearly always attend Mass on Ash Wednesday because I like receiving ashes on my forehead. I won't make it into church today, but I'm still thinking about Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, and what I want it to mean for me this year.

When I was a kid I usually gave up popcorn for Lent. This was painful; we ate a lot of popcorn on winter evenings in my house. Sometimes I gave up chocolate, which was also hard. As an adult I've been more prone to adding something to my life rather than subtracting. One year I prayed the rosary every day.

It does not make a whit of difference to God if I go without popcorn for 40 days. Nor, I think, is God enhanced by my prayer. But it might make a difference in me.

I've been doing a lot of yoga lately. I plan to blog about that soon. One of the things I've really liked about yoga is how my teachers stress that it is a practice. We practice yoga. We don't perfect yoga. We don't have to be good at it or skinny or bendy, we just have to show up on our mats and try.

In a similar way I want to show up this Lent. I want to allow myself to grow closer to God, and to my ideal self as I am created to be. Which is why I'm writing a vastly different blog post than the one I had planned for today.

I was going to write a rant about something that's really driving me crazy. I've already talked it all out with my daughter, and I even had internet examples to back up my side.

Then I thought, maybe for Lent, I'll give up arguing. Maybe I'll give up rants. Maybe I'll try to write about just the good things.

So this is the start: snow, ashes, a cup of green tea. The noise the wind makes against my window. Forty days of harmony. I can practice. I can try.