So it’s Ash Wednesday, and I have the cross in ashes on my forehead. Actually, by now it’s more of a round smudge of ashes, but that’s what happens when you have bangs. My church had a combined Ash Wed. service with other area Presbyterian churches, and let’s just say the imposition of ashes and communion took a while. It might have been that there were nearly 400 people there, plus some confused pastors, and a choice of intinction or tiny plastic cup. The elderly lady next to me made me laugh. After the row in front of us was re-routed from the front to the back, while the usher made wild arm motions for them to return to the pew from the side, the woman leaned over to me and said “Well now, those Catholics can sure do this fast, but with us Prestbyterians it takes forever.” And indeed, it did. The service was a little over an hour and a half, even with skipping another forever long bell choir song and the prayers of the people.
And now it’s lent. I’ve never given up anything before for lent, and I’m thinking it’s because it’s not a strong tradition in the Christian Reformed Church. But for this year it seemed like a good idea to me, for a bunch of reasons. So, as of tonight the plan is to give up TV for lent. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while, and this seemed like a good impetus. So I’m not sure if that dilutes the lent-ness of it, but there you go. Also possibly diluting the lent-ness of it is the fact that I’ve made rules about it. It’s only an at-home tv ban, so as not to impose it on others, and I’m exempting TV I watch while using the elliptical trainer. Otherwise I’d be giving up both exercise and TV, since I really can’t bring myself to work out unless my mind can also be occupied. I’m also still watching Netflix, be it movies or TV programs. Just because.
My reaction to it so far is weird, if you can evaluate your own reactions to things. This morning and afternoon while I was thinking about it, I kept racking my brain to see if there was something coming up where I would NEED my TV. And then I thought how strange that was…what would constitute a TV emergency? I couldn’t really think of anything. And already tonight I realize how often I reach for the remote without really thinking about it. I’m going to have to move it or I’ll just accidentally turn it on. And one of the reasons I think I often turn the TV on is that living alone I sometimes get this eery feeling that everyone else on earth has ceased to exist if I don’t hear, talk to, or see someone for a while. Thankfully there is still radio and internet to assure myself that indeed there is still life on planet earth other than me and the kitties.
So yes, I will probably be blogging more in the next 40 days, at least if I can continue to give up TV. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m making a list of alternate activities, some of which include actually reading the Bible daily, something I mean to do but don’t, cooking more often, a few crafty/sewing projects, reading, cleaning out closets and getting some clothes to the thrift store, painting a pink wall in my living room, and we’ll see what else I can come up with.
Although some of this post probably sounds flippant, I’m interested to see what taking lent more seriously might do. On the bulletin for tonight’s service was the phrase “worship devoutly,” and I like that idea. Maybe lent is a good time to try to make that happen.