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.