Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Is It a Bug in the System? Or a Feature?

 So today is Ash Wednesday. And once again I find myself unprepared for Lent.

I'm sensing a pattern emerging in myself.

I got my pancakes!!!

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, depending on your tradition). In my tradition, this is the day to eat up all the tasty, greasy, or otherwise tempting things in the pantry, since we're supposed to do away with all of that for the penitential season of Lent. 

I've heard it said (and I've repeated it facetiously) "today we feast! for tomorrow we die..." 

In years past, we feasted with a pancake feed at church. This year, that is more complicated. Generally, there is is still a pandemic and we're not supposed to be gathering for special events like this (despite folks' behavior to indicate otherwise). Personally, I was on shift working on the ambulance from noon to midnight. But I still managed to get my pancakes in between calls. Maybe this is a feature of the pandemic, that I am able to call a restaurant and count with some certainty that they'll let me order food for takeaway.

Regardless, after I worked until midnight, I got home and I was wide awake. I could not get to sleep, and I saw the clock tick over to 2 am. So when I woke up, I wasn't prepared for much of anything, let alone Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. 

By the time I dragged my tired and semi-caffeinated butt into church, I was beating myself up regarding my lack of preparation for this liturgical season. I hadn't decided on anything that I would give up, or any discipline that I might take on. And moreover, I found myself stewing in some resentment about being at church, and how I might be using the time for any of the myriad of projects that I had on my list. 

And that was when I asked myself: Is this a bug in the system, the way that the liturgical seasons take me by surprise? Or a feature of it?

Like I said, I seem to be establishing quite the pattern of being surprised by a new season, and then taking to my blog to tell you, dear readers, about how it took me by surprise. 

And I do still beat myself up that I don't make any resolutions or decide on any disciplines that I might undertake for the various seasons. But my New Year's resolution for the past few years has been that I would not make a resolution... so maybe this lack of resolution is a feature of the system I find myself in, too. 

But all joking aside, isn't this what church (and more universally: Jesus Christ) is supposed to do? Break into the routine/monotony/comfort of our daily living, and upend all of it?

Those are rhetorical questions, of course. And I have no resolutions, either for the hanging questions or for the season. 

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