Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lent

A few weeks ago Ian and I heard a sermon by a jolly young Dominican priest, who reminded us that Lent is a season of "spring cleaning for the soul". This phrase was inspiring to me -- it helped me to see good reason for going on a Lenten diet, as I imagined cleaning out my body might play some part in progressing my spiritual renewal. And why not also take action on some matters I had made into projects of procrastination? I liked thinking about this whole "spring cleaning" theme. He also talked about Lent as a time of transformation, which made my brain wheels spin through many thoughts about what a better person I could become -- how much more loving and giving I could be if I put my mind to it. Lent was going to be exciting -- a six week period in which I could make New Year's resolutions of sorts -- a finite time in which to feel I had made some accomplishments.

But, the heart of this priest's message revealed a core I was not predicting. His message wasn't so much about how we can choose to become our better selves, but instead he said Lent is a time in which we become transformed by asking for guidance from God through prayer. During this Holy week -- the last week of Lent -- I might finally begin to understand a bit of what Lent is really about. My understanding is that Lent is a symbolic representation of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert resisting the temptations of Satan. In some small way I have come to understand a little of what it means to resist temptation because of this raw diet. In this modern age of instant gratification, saying "no" to delicious food is something that has been particularly difficult for me. I love food and before this diet I would not have described myself as someone who was particularly disciplined. But for the last 39 days, I have not yet broken this raw food fast. It definitely has helped to have Ian's company along the way. I really don't know how I possibly could have done this if I were living with someone eating a normal diet. Away from home, I have had to exercise serious discipline to resist pizza, cinnamon rolls, egg and cheese bagels, mediterranean food, desserts, etc. - much of which I had to order and set up as part of my job. The effort it has taken me to exercise this discipline has definitely taught me something about what I am capable of and how much stronger I would like to be. It has been difficult -- and this last week is proving to be the most trying of all so far. I have been feeling sorry for myself. I feel like I have been oozing all of my worst qualities. What is especially trying for me now is trying to stop this wallowing and start focusing on all that I have to be thankful for -- of all the many blessings I have. In the past I have most often turned to comfort food during times of stress. This week I will have to turn elsewhere.

1 comment:

Steph said...

I sort of missed out on observing Lent this year what with all my surgery drama (though maybe that was a Lenten observation in and of itself), so it's nice to read your words on this season. I haven't been to church for many years but Lent is one of those times when I feel most closely tied to Christianity.