Every year around this time I jokingly lament my upcoming Lenten sacrifices, while secretly longing for the glimpses of asceticism that my Lenten practices my bring me. Part of the reason I take Lent so seriously is because I need the yearly purge of emotional, nutritional, and social crap that threatens to overwhelm me the rest of the year.
We are recovering from a blizzard in the northeast, and I have worked through the stages of delight in having an excuse to stay home, anxiety over all the work that’s not getting done, and finally frantic working-at-home in hopes of not being completely swallowed by my obligations once I am able to return to them.
Though tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, will not be a day of calm for me (first rehearsal is at 7:20 am, last mass ends after 11:00 pm), the day after that I head to a retreat house for eight days of silence. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, and now that I am consumed with nervous energy I am more desperate for the quiet than ever.
What a gift the season of Lent is. Every year we are asked to slow down, to tune in, to cut back. There is wisdom in doing this over and over. I live a life in which I can have and do almost anything I want. In the end, all the stuff I can have weighs me down.
Though I will celebrate today with my usual indulgences (Burger King and a cocktail or two are on the menu!), in a few days I will begin trimming the fat. I pray this year as I do every year that I can return to the Alleluia refreshed, clean, and recreated.
How will you celebrate this Fat Tuesday? And what fat in your life needs trimming?