The weatherman says it's a balmy 56 degrees outside today. The sun is shining, and I hear tell there's a nice breeze blowing outside. (I knew I should have gone out for lunch.)
Today is also Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
I'm struck then by the dichotomy of these two thoughts...
On one hand, it's a beautiful day to enjoy, even relish; to stay outside as long as possible, to take a walk or roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair as you drive. (Anybody else hear the Boss as they read that line?)
I know 56 isn't all that warm, but who can deny the magic of sunshine?
On the other hand for many today is a day of sacrifice, a day of fasting and remembering the solemnity of the Lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter.
Discussions today center around what folks are giving up for Lent, or how they might survive forty days without eating meat on Fridays, or even for dinner tonight.
The joy? The sacrifice?
Folks I pick joy!
REALLY Jimmer?!? We thought you were a good Catholic kid?!?!
I don't think about what I might sacrifice for Lent. I'm not very good at it, and I don't think God wants me to promise and fail.
Oh, the many times I have failed.
I remember once as a kid my friends and I were all going to give up swearing. On the way into church on Ash Wednesday we all spewed out every string of vile curse words one might imagine. The doors closed and we all vowed that was it. We wouldn't swear again for at least the next 40 days.
Guess how long that lasted?
One year I gave up Coca Cola which at the time was a HUGE sacrifice for me. Know what?
It's just as easy to get addicted to Welsh's Grape Soda, which includes some pretty interesting side effects as most of the Moms in the crowd can probably attest.
-Eew, did I really just write that? Hee hee =)
I've had a few successes over the years, but the reality is that most of my stories of Lenten sacrifice end at about 7 days max, sometimes sooner...
Still, I am a good Catholic kid, or at least, (I hope) someone with God in the right place in his heart so I like to try to do something each year.
What I do think about for Lent is how I might change, i.e. what can I do better... and today is a day of spring board for change
With the emphasis on Spring. With the emphasis on Joy!
So then, what to do?
The last two years I've worked harder and harder on True Intent which I've talked about before.
This year though, I've got something else in mind.
*Note* This is where it gets personal today.
This may or may not surprise a few folks in the crowd, but I have a secret.
I haven't been to church in over a year. (What?! Guffaw?!?! Gasp!?!?! or "I knew that.")
It's true. For a number of reasons I'm not going to get into today I haven't been. Some of the reasons are good. Some of the reasons are not so good. Some of the reasons are, well they're just bad.
Now before you get concerned that I'm turning the blog into my bully pulpit, let me reassure you - that is not my usual style. I'm just here to share. I don't often preach. (Did you think I would say I never preach?)
So, I'm sharing that I'll be making every effort to get myself back to the Lord's house this year.
None of my reasons were about Him anyway. He knows that because I still talk to Him all the time.
So today, as I look around, feel the sunshine on my face and the wind in my hair, I'll have a good feeling inside, and I'll enjoy the day and all it brings, all that is to come.
I hope you enjoy it too.
I think He knew just what He was doing when He created today.
What do you think?
14 hours ago