Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ashes Aren't Enough

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

I couldn't agree more, Ben. And so goes my main thought on Lent this here Ash Wednesday: If eating good things like chocolate and hamburgers and drinking good things like coffee and beer make you so very happy that you want to fly away to heaven to thank God in person for being one heck of a Creator, isn't it somehow wrong -- perhaps even sinful to abstain from such pleasures for 40 whole days?
Absolutely, declares my late 20th century Protestant thinking (early Protestants observed Lent -- some still do). Remember, agewise I'm only 3/31ths Catholic and 28/31ths Protestant and the matter of conversion truly takes time ... I better live a really really really long life.

So I haven't decided what I'm giving up for Lent. I'm still here: "I've given up my whole body (pregnancy), every waking second of my life (motherhood), alcohol (pregnancy), money (husband's job loss) already; what else does God want from me? Throw me a bone here, or maybe just a steak or a candy bar.

And after all this pondering, what's my conclusion? Just this: if, out of love, I voluntarily offer up a sacrifice during Lent, perhaps the rest of the year it will be just a little easier to offer up the sacrifices demanded of me. We'll see.


stmelber said...

I love your thoughts on this! There is definately a difference between things demanded of us and things willingly given...this Lent I am willingly giving up watching TV in my bedroom-for my sake but mostly for my husband's. (And various other reasons.) I can't wait for the backyard discussions...

PS-I considered giving up moving furniture but simply thinking about that caused me to move my furniture. Twice.

abigail said...

If only for renewed knowledge of how frail we are, it's worth it. The girls and I gave up sugar- no desserts, gum, sugar on cereal,sweet spreads on toast, etc., and it's pathetic how hard I already find it, 2 days in. It's also made me realize how often I pop sweets in order to avoid having to stare at the ugliness of my sin and repent. I've been more edgy the last two days in my responses to the girls, and last night I lay awake and thought about my true need for God, something that is all too easy to ignore in the busy-ness of dish-scrubbing and feeding and educating and caring for the girls.

Something so small- such a minute sacrifice on my part- and yet even that reveals the gaping human need for a redeeming God.

As always, I love your posts. Your blog is the perfect balance of comic relief and food for thought.

Sarah said...

note to Steph: when we're old old ladies & we've outlived our husbands and all our boys have forgotten us and we're cruising in our trailer to the Grand Canyon, you are forbidden; I repeat forbidden from all furniture adjustment.

note to Abigail: you ARE your brother's sister and I just laugh and laugh at the horrible horrible thought of giving up all sugary products at this point in my mothering career. I also laugh and laugh because as I read your comment I was eating so many sour patch kids my taste buds were turning into raw little patches and falling off. HAH HAH HAH HAH!!! you've given up all sugar and you're not even Catholic -- HAH HAH HAH HAH!! SUCKA!!!!

tiffani said...

I am giving up sin.

If I was Baptist this would be my Lenten "give-up".

(I am laughing really hard at my own joke)