March 3rd, 2020


Chopping back the underbrush

Metaphorically, that is.

Usually, Lent is something I vaguely dread and do out of a sense of duty, one of those "I know this is good for me so I'll do it even though it's going to be a hassle" sorts of things that crop up throughout life. And it has been good for me each year, even those when I wound up wimping out partway through, succumbing to the siren call of chocolate or YouTube or whatever it was I'd decided to put aside for six weeks. Better to try, to at least attempt a moderate amount of self-discipline, than not even bother.

This year, I found myself looking forward to it. (Of course, I'm writing this on Shrove Tuesday, so by the time you read it I may be wondering about my past sanity--but I don't think so.) There is something freeing about taking all the things that usually distract and clog up my time, some physical, some mental, and basically shoving them all in a box to not be opened until Easter. To simplify and pare down what I'm putting into my brain for a little while, to do some outright fasting for the first time. It used to be a standard practice, Wednesdays and Fridays--I'm looking forward to the point of connection with the early church, even though I'm sure the actual doing of it will be uncomfortable.

A podcaster I listen to recently challenged his listeners to deliberately do one thing that would make them uncomfortable, to challenge themselves to something that would be hard to do: Lent's an excellent time to do so.