Sunday, February 17, 2013

Giving Up: First Sunday of Lent

You would not believe the number of half-baked Lenten puns I had to dismiss for the title of this post. Maybe I'll try to work 'em in as we progress through the series.

Day 1: Pray for your enemies. I literally woke up thinking about this one, about two hours before I actually needed to be awake, so I lay in bed and thought about it.

Who, exactly, are my "enemies"? I thought immediately of one person who seems to be vying for the title, so I prayed for her, and then I was sort of stumped. I drifted in and out of sleep for a while, waking periodically to pray for people who'd irritated me recently, for things I didn't like, for myself (which is either very sad or very deep, or both, and I am still unclear which). The day before Day 1 (Day 0?) was a rough one, filled with frustrations, though ended with a really nice in-person conversation with a friend, and a couple of differently nice online chats with other friends. The roughness of the day before was still very fresh in my mind in those early morning hours, and my prayers were a little jumbled and desperate. I prayed for all kinds of things. Eventually, I decided Westboro Baptist "Church" was a reasonable enemy to pray for, and I prayed that they might find some peace in their hearts.

Then I spent the rest of the day thinking about it. Who are my enemies? For whom should I still pray? Anyone who gets in my way? Anyone who gets in my way on purpose?

I did not come to clear conclusions, but I did pray for a lot of people.

Also, thinking about who your enemies are is a weird way to spend a day.

Day 2: Don’t turn on the car radio. This was actually supposed to be Day 3's task, but it was impractical to "walk, carpool, bike or bus it" this particular day, so I swapped them around. The huge advantage to this is that I spent the day without all the sap or whininess of Valentine's Day — at least on the radio (Facebook is another story).

I had more than two hours of driving on windy country roads in the dark in silence — I felt inclined to turn on the radio several times, but managed not to succumb. Hey, alone in the wild.

Day 3: Walk, carpool, bike or bus it. I walked to work this Day 3 morning, and here's the thing: sidewalks in small-town New England a few days after a major snowstorm are sometimes snowy, which is good, because, traction. This particular morning? Slick, slick ice. I walked out for lunch on slightly less slick ice, and took advantage of the opportunity to catch a ride home with a friend I have not seen enough of lately.

Day 4: Give $20 to a non-profit of your choosing. I did. I spent the weekend with dear friends, and had a conversation that decided for me between two nonprofit concerns.

Is there harm in contributing to a worthy cause partly out of spite? Does it make a difference if I was going to give to one of these two organizations anyway, and just decided which one based on someone saying something that irritated me?

Aw, criminy. Of course there is. I'm off to give $20 to the other nonprofit, too.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Couldn't your enemies be the people causing the frustration? Not evil, or people that are a forever-enemy, but someone that is causing problems for now.
I find the people that don't mean to be jerks are the ones that I get most upset about.