Lent is no longer part of my religious tradition. Even as a child, while I recall quiet vesper services and beautiful hymnody, i don’t remember imposition of ashes or the relinquishing of a pleasure for the duration.
But of course I knew people who did… I knew lots of friends from other traditions…
It often confused me however because i could never make the connection between ice cream and the crucifixion or alcohol and hungry children. That became more and more true in my 20s and 30s as i knew people who stopped one or the other either to lose weight or to dry out. I became somewhat cynical.
So it’s lovely to have friends who take the sacrifice and the prayer practice seriously. As a ritualist, I’m always interested in ritual practice and in the ways it changes lives.
My friend Faye is a Prayer Warrior. And by that I mean two things: She lives her life in and at prayer, working at things that matter and having a rich and full life. She also can pray mightily when an occasion demands it. I believe in prayer… and I am always grateful for the focused attention that she gives a subject, if for no other reason than how she is changed by those prayers… and how she leads the way.
So when Faye sacrifices for prayer, I pay attention and I welcome the thoughtful giving over of self to make the world and her life better. I guess I’m not as impressed by people who can go 40 whole days without ice-cream… or who think that that matters… unless they’re doing something important with that time.
Aside from all that, she’s a great friend and we laugh together and puzzle at the world together — which is a great gift!
I’m still struggling with having given up cynicism and fear all that time ago. It’s an ongoing struggle. But the Lunacy of Peace is a great thing… and well worth the struggle.