Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. What is Lent, you ask?  Oddly enough, this has always been one of my favorite times of the year.  I think a certain part of me has always enjoyed the "self-sacrificial" aspect of it.  Plus, several good, long-term changes have been made in my life due to the various things I have "given up" for Lent.  I gave up red meat once in high school, I gave up caffeinated soft drinks in middle school (STILL only drink about one cherry coke a year and that's only if I go to a matinee movie!), and I once limited the amount of time I spent on the computer to 15 minutes twice a day.  Obviously, the computer time limit didn't stick all that well...

One year, I even dumped ALL of my Madonna tapes, posters, records, etc off in a brown paper bag in our high school Sunday School classroom.  We had done a program about laying our burdens on the cross.  I don't know why, but it struck me that I had had a pretty big obsession with Madonna ever since I got her Like a Virgin tape when I was 8 years old.  Yes, 8.  My Barbie & the Rockers sang only Madonna songs.  I sang only Madonna songs.  It was ridiculous.  Anyways, I felt compelled to get rid of all of it, so I did.  I assumed someone else would remove the bag but it was never touched for well over a year.  By that time, my musical interests had broadened and I decided to reclaim my previous "burden."  I rarely listen to Madonna anymore...but I do have all of her albums, many on tape & CD, before her reinvention as a middle-aged body builder.

This year, I have no idea what I'm going to do.  I am 95% convinced that pregnancy is one big Lenten Season and since this pregnancy will almost fully overlap Lent, there's not really anything more I can give up!  However, I haven't always given up stuff for Lent.  Sometimes, I've added something beneficial to my life, whether it be a daily prayer or scripture reading or even half an hour of exercising.  I'm trying to decide if there is anything I can add that would be beneficial to me &/or to Klaw.

Lent is a time of reflection and preparation, which sits awfully well with the last few weeks of pregnancy.  I think it's a happy coincidence that I am preparing for the birth of our child at the same time that the Church is preparing for the death & resurrection of Jesus.  One will provide a multitude of changes in my life while the other provided and continues to provide a multitude of changes in the lives of people all over the world.  Maybe I have begun to answer my own question about what to do this Lenten Season...

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all,
take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore Thee,
a heart to delight in Thee,
to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake, Amen
St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)
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