We have some fairly unusual traditions in our family. One of those traditions, which others tend to find perplexing, is our habit of moving holidays around to days that are more convenient for us. I think it started a couple of years after we got married. We spent the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving helping a mom and her four children find safety in a shelter for battered women, several counties away. It was 2:00 in the morning by the time we got home. Bill and I looked at each other and said, in unison, “Thanksgiving on Friday!” and fell into bed.
Generally we have Thanksgiving on Thursday these days, though we did have Thanksgiving just about a year ago, sometime in August. I needed to take pictures for my book about holidays and food so that it could be published in time for readers to plan their own Thanksgivings.
We still, routinely, move birthdays and anniversaries. Also Valentines’ Day, which often falls during the Westminster Kennel Club show. I don’t skip Westminster! Strange, perhaps, but it works for us.
I’ve been pondering moveable holidays for the last couple of weeks and I’ve realized that I’m about to move a big one. Actually, not just a holiday, but a whole season of the church year!
Sorry! We’re not having Christmas in July. Or in August, for that matter.
Nope. We’re having Lent. Again. At least I am. You see, I’ve been in a purple sort of mood lately.
Purple as in the contemplative seasons of the church year. Lent is one of those seasons. A season before Easter when new believers in the early church prepared themselves to be baptized on Easter morning. A season of “giving up” something in remembrance of what Jesus gave up for the world.
There are some things I’m “giving up” right now. At least if feels like I am. I’m also learning to change some things that have been difficult for a long time.
One of them is my adventure with food. The program is called Wild Fit. I first heard about it last fall when I was with my friends from Learning Strategies at the Qigong retreat. It’s a bit hard to explain as it’s unfolding gradually while I make my way through the 90-day Challenge and I don’t yet know what comes next. Think along the lines of Paleo food choices, with a few philosophical differences. I’m still learning and, admittedly, there are days when I’m obsessed, not with donuts or ice cream, but with one perfect summer tomato. Sadly, it’s not summer in Wild Fit land and tomatoes are not “in season” there.
So why do I care? Well, I feel better!!! Lots less pain. Better sleep. More mobility. I have the list of all the things that are better, written with my special invisible ink pen, on the inside of my left hand where I can check it as often as I need to.
Another notion of Lent is a time apart. A retreat, if you will, similar to the 40 days Jesus spent praying alone in the desert. I need a retreat just now.
I need a retreat from “news” and politics and doomsday scenarios of various sorts. I need a retreat from ominous trade deals and GMO’s and bombs and a whole lot of things that don’t seem to be working.
So, I’m having Lent again.
As little “news” as possible. Ditto hours spent on Facebook trying to come up with the perfect comment on the same old story that might, just might, fix things.
I’m going to focus on my writing and the amazing opportunity I have to be in community with folks who have lots to share. There’s no shortage of writing to do. And who knows where that will lead?
I’m going to focus on the next few weeks with my Wild Fit friends, finding interesting new ways to stick with the plan and feeling better and better. That’s bound to change lots of things!
I’m going to focus on my organic vegetable garden, which was sadly neglected this summer. It’s almost time for fall planting and I have lots of new ideas about what to grow. It’s also good for the planet!
In short, I’m going to work on the things I can do to try and change the world. Activism, you might say, of a very personal sort. I’ve had some inspiration!
And, if I don’t count days in exactly the traditional way, my personal Lenten season will take me from here right up to a new experience with my Succulent Wild Writers group in September. And, I suspect, a fair amount of newness after that! Which is also associated with the color purple.
I’m not sure if Lent is a part of your tradition. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for something all of us need now and then. In any event, you’re invited to join me, if you’d like, in whatever way might work for you. Purple is recommended, but optional!
I’ll let you know what I learn…