Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent. With an "E".

Everyone likes to make jokes about "lint" when I say something about the season of Lent. Thus, the title of this blog.

Anyway, the Lenten season is upon us, and for many people I know who grew up Protestant, this means little. Lent, for those who were not raised Catholic or simply don't know, is the forty days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. I cannot fully explain why I observe Lent, but I do believe it has something to do with wanting to embrace the gravity and holiness of the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior. Also, I liked to meet my Grandma half-way with things when I was growing up, like reading her Catholic Bible, learning to say the Rosary (not necessarily doing it, but knowing about it), and things like that. My mom and I liked to keep an open religious forum in our family. But I digress.

Lent is not simply about "giving up" things. I do not do the whole vegetarian thing like many Catholics do, with allowances for fish on Friday. In fact, I had steak last night...on a Sunday! However, I have forsaken certain things that I like in order to hopefully become more focused on spiritual things. It's a form of fasting.

For me this year, I have chosen to give up all alcohol and not allow myself to watch over one hour of TV a day. If I watch a movie, I make an exception. I found myself watching too much TV lately, and thought that there were certainly more contructive ways to use my time. I'm not fooling myself or anyone else by saying that all this extra time and energy is going to be put toward prayer or reading my Bible...I'm not that holy! But when I turn off the TV after only one episode of Law and Order (instead of three or more!), I think about why I am doing it. When I sheepishly tell the waitress at a bar that I would like some hot chocolate instead of a shot of schnapps or something, I think about the conviction and reasoning behind it. It's a bonus when people ask me why I'm doing it...I get to witness to them a bit!

So there you go. I think about my Grandma Betty a lot during this season, too. It makes me sad and happy at the same time: sad because I miss her, but happy because I know she's in Heaven and having a great time, and that I will see her someday soon. Lately, I find myself wearing a lot of the jewelry she gave me, just as a little remembrance. My days are imbued with a little more meaning in this season, and I don't think anyone can fault that!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Days After the Dunking

Well, I guess I'm an official member of Bear Valley Church...seeing as they got their wish to baptize me again! I've got to say, I don't feel much different...not that I really expected to. Wouldn't it be nice if a good dunking on a winter's day could completely transform your Christian walk and make you feel more holy? Well, too bad! Doesn't work like that.
Truth is, like maintaining any other sort of relationship, keeping close to God when there's all this busy-ness about can be difficult. To keep up a relationship, there must be communication and sometimes I feel I'm sadly lacking on my end of the deal.
Lent is coming up and I think that there might be more of a feeling of communion with God, as I forsake certain things that I love on this Earth, in deference to the more important things that are spiritual and cannot be seen. We'll see, we'll see...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Two Weeks Later...

So it has been exactly two weeks since I decided to stop drinking when I go out at night. I think, to be exact, that I have had two thimbles of sake at sushi, and one margarita when we went out for Mexican. Oh yes, and the obligatory wine with dinner when we went to Mongolian. All of those times I was out to dinner with Dad, a loophole that I expressly built into the new rules. Reason? Good question, with multiple answers: so I won't be an annoying tee-totaller (it could happen!), so Dad won't drink alone (co-dependent reason?), because I felt like it.

I think that since alcohol has been ingrained in the way I go about my business for the last four years or so, it was a bit of a leap to say NO MORE, in that very cold turkey fashion. So I've allowed myself these loopholes not to exploit, but to hopefully re-develop a good relationship with alcohol. I certainly don't want alcohol to be on a pedestal, but nor do I want it to be demonized. I think, above all, that I needed to realize it was my own behavior that was wrong, not the drink itself.

That said, come Lent I will be fasting from alcohol altogether, as well as coffee...heretofore my two favorite liquids!! Hopefully this will mean a) I will be able to focus on Christ's Passion and Resurrection, the meaning of the Lenten season, and b) that I will realize that I can thrive independently from liquids which alter my mood and mental state. Maybe I'll even drink more water, who knows?!

So that was just a little update into my progress. I haven't had a drink in a bar or a club for two whole weeks, and I can only think of one time that I was tempted to break the new rule. Praise God for spiritual conviction, and for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.