Today is Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent.
It’s become a bit of a happy tradition in my life to look forward to this season. It started kind of frivolously, by my giving up Facebook one year. Well, better description would be ‘tried to’ because the experiment was such a failure that by the end of the trial period I couldn’t even pretend I was ‘fasting’. Still, I learned a lot about myself, and what a weak-willed human I am, so I decided I not only needed, but wanted to do this again the following year.
That year, being the glutton for punishment, I was even more ambitious and decided to give up complaining for full forty days. O course, now I realize that at the time I was unwilling to admit to myself or anyone else, that the REAL reason why I was GIVING UP COMPLAINING FOR LENT (and so should YOU!) was because I was getting really annoyed by my kids constant complaining. I thought they would get a hint (they didn’t), so once again, my Lent was a fiasco.
But, for some reason I was hooked. Not enough though to plan ahead for the year after that. Lent sneaked up on me one day, when I woke up and realized, It’s Ash Wednesday!, and I had NO IDEA what I wanted to give up on Lent. The dilemma was solved expediently the very same morning when on the way to dropping off my son to school I lost my favorite iPod earbuds. They were lima-green and fitted perfectly and I loved them so much, almost as much as my favorite playlist…
I was so mad at God for taking my favorite lima-green earbuds – on Ash Wednesday, of all days! - it took me at least three weeks to get out of my funk and get on speaking terms with the Almighty. Which was pretty good, because I really needed my ears unplugged and start actually LISTENING.
That was a costly lesson though.
The worst, however, was the year when somehow I thought it would be a good idea to give up offering unsolicited advice for Lent. If you’ve never tried this, I would highly recommend you don’t start now.