Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lenten Friday Five (on Saturday morning)

Stolen from Paul, who stole it from Diane, who got it from RGBP.

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?

I wore beads to class on Tuesday; does that count? A few that I'd gotten from a tourist trap in the Quarter, and some from church. I didn’t quite dare wear my Mardi Gras hat to school. We had Carnival last Sunday at church, wherein I juggled banner and beads (not entirely successfully), got homesick for New Orleans, and was happy that my church in San Francisco was as much into the festivities as they were. (It was weird to be back on this planet, though.)

Ash Wednesday: Ashes, both in chapel at school and at church that night. A friend and I rode BART there and back together; it was nice to have the company.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?

Gosh, I don’t know… maybe one year (in the late ‘90s) when I didn’t give up anything, but a housemate gave up chocolate. I hoarded Cadbury eggs all that season, and gave them to her on Easter morning.

She was doing the church thing; I was involved in my interfaith community. That was the first year I kept a Lenten prayer journal. I’ve done it off and on, since.

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?

You don’t “celebrate” Lent; you observe it. I don’t remember giving anything up until high school, when one year I gave up chocolate. I certainly didn’t take anything on, in those years. I think my mom gave things up, but I don’t remember what or how regularly. So the clearest answer is, “sort of.”

I discovered it truly (as truly as I have), the year when I hit on the journal idea. I don’t remember doing Lent at all, for years before that. I knew I was missing something, but I wasn’t completely ready to go fully back to the faith. I could have gone to church, but wouldn’t.

It’s amazing how we keep ourselves in exile.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?

I wish I could steal Paul’s answer:

I am in the slow down, de-clutter your life, and fall in love with God again camp….I believe most of our giving up is superficial, often silly, and self-deluding and would vote for giving up despising ourselves. That might go a long way toward re-learning to love God and others.

Alas, I don’t know how to slow down in my last semester of school. It’s not the same as flakery (which I’m good at); it takes a depth of intention, and focus, and planning, and discipline, that I don’t know if I have.

I gave up despising myself last fall, but it’s still a battle.

I am in love with God—but so much builds up between me and that reality, I don’t often remember just to be there. If I could give up anything, just because I choose to, it would be anxiety about me and what God's calling me to and homework and last term and where I'm going to do field ed and where I'm going to live and how I'm going to pay for it and student loans and getting my brakes fixed and...

Hmm. If I can breathe that, I can pray it. If I can pray it, I know I'm not alone.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?

I planned to do the journal thing, and I still think I’d like to. But honestly? I’m looking out the window at a beautiful spring morning. The best thing for me, in this season, would be to take lots of walks.

As far away from Holy Hill as I can.


Paul said...

Walkies! Yes, yes, yes!

Kirstin said...


Mimi said...

Walks! What an awesoem way to keep Lent (celebrate? That is an odd term.)

Forgive me, my sister.

Jane R said...

That's my plan as things stand now. See here in the comments section.

FranIAm said...

Beautiful post Kirstin.

Lenten walks - you may have inspired me.

Diane said...

yes, you OBSERVE lent. sorry it took me so long to find this. It's Lent.

Mother Laura said...

Hi Kirstin, long time no comment (either way). It sounds like NOLA was amazing and that you have continued to find much grace and leadings toward your ministry since, in the midst of all the overwhelm and uncertainty.

I do celebrate Lent some years, though not always, often finding it a "joyful season," as one Lenten preface in the Roman Missal calls it. Thanks be to Godde, this year seems to be one of those--not that it's easy or anything.

I hope that your walks and journaling bring you some of that same joy in Godde's gentle love and belief in you.

Take good care of yourself, hugs and prayers.