Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday

I am so ready for Lent this year... on so many levels for so many reasons. It may have something to do with the Lenten Meditations I was responsible for writing for Episcopal Relief & Development this year. Due to print deadlines they were completed last Advent and that was a challenge in itself... focusing on the end of the story while the rest of the world was preparing for the beginning. Anyway, all that writing certainly got me in the mood.

The point of Lent is to come closer to God. All the giving up (fasting and penance) and taking on (extra Bible study, working the soup kitchen)... those are just a means to an end. And the end is a moving target. Coming closer to God is elusive and hard to describe. It's different for everyone, even for those who think there is no God. Okay, that being said, it would be easy enough to rationalize not doing anything special for Lent. It's an option, certainly, and I'll admit I've used it in the past myself. I'm just not there anymore. I want to participate in this bleak desert experience, and in a way I've been too chicken to attempt in the past. So here it is: I'm giving up alcohol. And I'm giving up bread. And I'm shutting down the Facebook games for basic maintenance for the duration. Those are all things I enjoy, and each one in its own way gets in the way of my relationship with God. What I'll take on is still up for grabs, but that in itself may add to the desert experience.

Of course it's the night before and the road to everywhere is paved with good intentions. We shall see.

A lot of folks have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. In times past, when the Roman Catholic Church ruled with a fist instead of a hand that blessed, you had to get rid of all the fat and sugar and eggs. You can make pancakes with all that.

But here in the convent we've discovered that a day of fasting after the sugar high means nasty headaches all around. It's hard enough to fast without a headache, so we've opted for the Mardi Gras (Louisiana Gumbo) dinner. Shrimp, chicken and sweet sausage mixed with all the requisite veggies... yum. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we fast.

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