Lent 2013

Thanks to the Anarchist Reverend for providing a prompt. My writing here is an expansion of my comment there.

I grew up honoring Lent in the breach. It was the time to set aside bad habits, or try to, or pretend to, or want to really hard. It was a selfish thing, or I was selfish and made it so, or I was clueless and didn't pick up that it wasn't supposed to be. It was so long ago I don't really remember now. 2002 was the last time I became anything more than an obligatory Christmas-and-Easter churchgoer, and with that Lent fell by the wayside too, unnoticed and unmissed.

Last year, the year of constellations, was the year that saw me back to church - but I still managed to miss Lent. (I actually came back on Pentecost, and started seriously attending on Trinity Sunday.) This is easily the 23rd Lent of my life, certainly of the life I can remember; but this Lent is different from the ones that came before. This is the first Lenten fast of my adult life. This is the first Lent since I grew into my baptism; my first as an Episcopalian; my first where I understood why I was fasting.

This Lent is going to be special.
I have only two hard-and-fast rules for Lent. One of them is traditional, the other personal.

The traditional fast is abstaining from flesh. In the historic tradition of the church, Lent was a season for vegetarianism, which would be a much bigger transition than I'm comfortable attempting this year. I'm not exactly ovo-lacto (broth and bouillon is hypothetically okay); the purpose of "flesh" is to save me from dithering over scouring ingredient lists with friends. The money I save will, in theory, be given away. (First discovery of Lent: I have no idea how much money I'm actually saving by this. Really, I should start planning a budget come Easter.)

My other fast is a personal one, impossible until after the Industrial Revolution: I'm going to walk to church. Church is close enough to walk to (I did it today; it takes about half an hour, less at the hour I'd be leaving when the streets will be empty.) I've been meaning to do it for awhile; I don't, because I wake up too late. The waking up too late is a sign of a broader problem, that for all the words I consistently feel unprepared to worship; a 7:00 wakeup should give me time to prepare myself.

That part of Lent first becomes salient tomorrow. Wish me luck.

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