(fyi, i began this post on march 12.)
thank you all for your comments on lent. i love reading your stories–the lenten journeyers and “lent? no thanks…” friends alike.
my experience of lent is a lot like every other event within the liturgical year: sometimes i feel pulled or lured into the familiar rhythm; other times i have no desire to participate. i’m not tied to a church community anymore. i’ve written about that a little bit here over the years, but here is the brief synopsis: i’ve never found a church in austin that is home. i suspect that my church home will always be in nashville. also, it’s not really a priority for me to find a new church at this point in my life. every moment with my family is church. think emily dickinson:
“Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.”
for me, lent is not so much a religious experience as a communal one. participating in lent with my brothers and sisters (in nashville especially…hi!) helps me feel connected and present with them. i love the idea of 40 days of self sacrifice, and the perfect balance between self-accountability and camaraderie: we’re all alone and in it together.
this year, what i gave up is decidedly cliche: alkyhol. yep, it’s true. and h gave it up too. (cue our friends n&c poking fun at h the buddhist giving up something for lent, btw.)
the reason i gave up alcohol, if only for 40 days, is that it makes me lazy. i am still learning how to balance the two worlds of my life: increasingly demanding job and increasingly demanding role as a mother to a precocious kid and growing baby. i rarely have a drink while my children are awake–who has time for that?–but since returning to work, i’ve fallen into a routine of immediately pouring myself a drink, or two, after the kids are sacked out and i am officially off duty. and oh, sweet lord, the ensuing relaxation is downright divine sometimes. i <3 whiskey. i <3 wine.
the downside of such relaxation is that my brain goes slack. i lose the impetus to observe, to reflect, to chronicle. if you know me at all, you know that i am a chronicler. it is how i make peace with my existence. it is how i know i am really here, living this lovely life of mine. and when i can’t find the time or space to write, i become anxious.
example: ziggy is now 6 months old. jude is officially 2 3/4. there are so many stories to tell, so many moments i want to keep. and yet. they slip, like so much proverbial sand, from my mind. and i wake up in the middle of the night, haunted by all that is unwritten. i.do.not.want.to.forget.
a prayer from the book of common prayer comes to mind now:
“We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done…”
and that’s the point i keep circling around–i am abstaining from alcohol so that i may learn to be a better steward of my time, to be a more mindful mother and partner, to be more intentional in my writing.
altogether, this year has been one of intent. in january, i decided to rein in the way i consume food every day. i have been much more intentional in my food choices. i’ve been more mindful of the less-than-healthy ways in which i use food, and as a direct result of my self-honesty, i’ve actually lost 10 pounds.
thus far, not drinking has simply yielded less calories consumed in a day. my brain still feels slack at the end of the busiest days of my career. i still haven’t stolen the moments to write (or to edit marlei’s wedding photos, oy…), but i’ve found that i’m able to properly unwind just the same without my beloved whiskey. and when the moments to write finally arrive, as i am ever hopeful they will, i’ll be ready. and sober.
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