Our seasonal list of the things we're giving up, which will - again - not include chocolate or coffee, since we do need to live with others for the next forty days (not counting Sundays).
1. Intellectualizing. When we were all kids, we were completely tapped in to our emotions. Feeling mad? Throw a tantrum in the aisle at Target. Clothes bothering you? Strip naked. Find something funny? Laugh out loud in the middle of great-granny's funeral. Now, some self-regulation is appropriate as we grow older. But we get disconnected from our emotional souls. We think and process and rationalize and logic ourselves into a death spiral when sometimes we just have to feel. We have to feel mad or sad or happy or frightened (or all four). We have to let those emotions have space to be, and not everything in our lives needs to be explained. Much of life needs to be felt in our souls. Avoid feeling, and you're in for trouble down the line.
2. Thinking I have skills that would keep me alive in a Hunger Games scenario. Clergy, unless you have something to fall back on, most of us would not be kept alive for the survival of the human race in an apocalypse scenario. While any number of you may be getting bent out of shape about this, I find comfort in knowing that what I do is often mundane and quiet and could often be done by others. The best moments of my vocation could never be put on a resume. Remembering all of that truth is a good way to keep humility a majority shareholder.
3. Thinking that forgiveness is an event and not a process. Oh yes, for all those who have hurt me, I want so much to say, "I forgive you," and be done with it. Except I'm not. Some days are better than others, but old wounds get touched again and flare up. Forgiveness is the untying of a twisted, complicated knot over sometimes a l-o-n-g period of time. Rats. But there we go.
4. Processed food. We need something on the list that sounds good, and with the current movement against all food that is processed (which is a good thing), we will try to avoid food that has been altered in some way, shape, or form. With this said, we deem nothing from Starbucks as processed, nor anything from the dessert section of Whole Foods as processed. And fried chicken from anywhere. Okay, so this may be the hardest thing for us to do.
5. Feeling guilty about my love of things celebrity and otherwise not church. Yes, I read People and Entertainment Weekly. And I read the Bible. I know about the latest celebrity gossip (but not as much as Holli). I also love snazzy shoes and jewelry that pops and Nars fuchsia lip gloss and the jeans that make me feel awe-some. And I pray. All that in one soul. Yes, indeed.
6. Getting a popsicle at inopportune moments. Susan and I recognize this about ourselves, that we will have a great idea and completely sell it to everyone else, and while they are working diligently on said project, we decide that's a perfect time to get a popsicle. For those of you less high context than Susan and I, getting a popsicle is our version of checking out of a situation that feels uncomfortable or scary to us, so we find something else to grab our attention. We're both trying this stay in place and experience the scary, because popsicles don't make the scary go away. They just give you brain freeze.
7. Camping. I'm giving up camping for Lent. I never do it, anyway. God may be in the trees and mountains and the outdoors, but so are bugs. (Click here for my views on the whole camping thing). This way, one thing is on the list that I can reflect on at the moment we celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection and say, "I totally accomplished that Lenten goal. I rock."
Blessed Lent to all.