Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ash Friday

I've tried for the last twenty minutes to attach a photo of myself to this blog post, and I'm giving up. Which, now that I think about it, is appropriate. You'll see why in a minute.

I missed Ash Wednesday. I wasn't even sure what it meant until I read other blog posts about it. I feel that I've missed out on some great church traditions being raised Southern Baptist and now Presbyterian. I should have known what Ash Wednesday was all about, but I didn't.

So I've been reading up this week on Lent. I like the idea of it. To give up something we cherish, perhaps too deeply, in order to think more on Christ and what He gave up in order to reclaim mankind.

So what to give up? I ponder on this as I stride angrily about outside doing different chores...anything to keep me outside in the cold long enough to cool off a little inside and out. Anger boils up inside me over things too deep to analyze; some not so deep. A recent argument with an eleven year old. A recent argument with a twenty five year old. No respect. Just leave me alone. Get a job. Get a life. Do your schoolwork!

As I'm emptying the ash bucket I stop and look down. Gray ashes burnt up and lifeless. Like I feel. I reach down and touch my finger to the soft remains and then place it between my eyes on my forehead. Ash Friday...what do I give up?

Myself. I give up my anger and self-righteous attitude. For the next forty days I'm going to try to not think about myself. Every time "I" pop into my thoughts, I'm going to deliberately turn that "I" into an "other". I tried it for the rest of the day, and it worked. I started feeling better mentally and physically.

Some background: I've been sick for the last two weeks and have spent it mostly at home huddled around a fire. As much as I love being home and having fires, my spirit doesn't benefit from too much of it. Everything turns inward and focuses on self.

Another thing I do is read self-help books focusing on the artistic nature. I don't think there's anything wrong with these books, but I make myself think I'm being productive by reading them instead of actually making art.

So no more "self" books or inward, selfish thinking until Easter. That's why I don't need a picture of myself attached to this post.


wayside wanderer said...

These are really good thoughts you share and I especially appreciate your honesty. You paint a very vivid word picture that I will be thinking about the rest of the day.

Jeannette said...

And as that cross of ashes is made upon our foreheads...Hear O man, thou are dust and to dust shalt thou return... It puts, as you have done, so much of what we fret and fume about in a larger persepective...which is of course liberating. And "giving things up" is liberating is one of the other "traditions" of Lent...almsgiving. May you truly enjoy your lenten journey.

Pom Pom said...

I love your words. I feel the "grrrrr" in them. I especially like the image of you putting the ash on your forehead. Oh, our journey - so alone, yet so communal.

Jessica said...

That's a good one! I thought you were going to say you were giving up photography for lent.

Pom Pom said...

Hi Debbie!
Yes, there is a movie made from Ballet Shoes. It wasn't very much like the books. I don't know how to explain the writing style. Somehow she invites the reader into the world of the girls, gives a sufficient (and rather delicious) amount of detail, and rolls along. It's so original and enchanting, really. It's snowing like crazy here and I just bought a cheap two-pack of journals for my morning (afternoon? evening?) pages. Delightful! And I finished my first cross. I'll show it to you next Sunday. I wish a "thinking" and "feeling" week upon you, one with inspiring discovery of never before noticed features of our Savior. I wish the same for ME! (BIG hug!)

Laura A said...

I enjoyed reading this. And I think you're right that that there's a balance with self-thought where you don't benefit anymore after the amount needed to take your emotional "temperature." After that, the cup runneth over and the spillage makes a mess!

By the time Easter arrives, it will be spring in Georgia, and you will likely have benefited greatly from your spiritual discipline. Though with God, of course, is that there are no guarantees, because he isn't tame. And aren't we glad!