Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Off to a Start

What kind of start I'm not exactly sure, but it's a start!

I actually woke up and got ready efficiently enough to make it to morning Mass, which helps with the fasting in addition to being just plain the best way to start your day. But, on the way from Mass to work I caught myself complaining around half dozen times... and it's only a 15 minute drive!

I don't think fasting is necessarily any more difficult for me than for anyone else, but I am a food person. Food to have something to do with your hands, food if you're bummed, food to celebrate, food if you "have a taste for" something, food to have a full belly; lots of reasons to eat in my little world. So today, fasting, what do I think about every time I get up from my desk - you guessed it, food! I am thankful for having had the opportunity to begin my day with the Real Food and Real Drink of the Eucharist, by God's Grace, every time I think of food today I remember that I am fasting. And why am I fasting? Well, if you said "Because it's Ash Wednesday you might be missing the point. I happened to read a great post at Adam's Ale about purposefully practic[ing] acts of denial, charity, and penance. I highly recommend it.

As for the complaining, well, the Complaint Free World idea is to switch a bracelet from wrist to wrist when you complain. I ordered one (and now think I didn't need to, alas and alack) but don't have it yet, so I decided to use a rosary ring given to me by a friend. The ring fits on my forefinger and not only do I move it from left to right (and back again) when I complain, but becuase it's a rosary I was inspired - deep breath, drumroll, can you imagine - to PRAY when I caught myself complaining. Now why didn't I think of that sooner?

So, here am I at my desk on Ash Wednesday - wearing my ashy smudge on my forehead in spite of the Gospel exhortation to " anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden." - fasting, praying, and working on the practice of not complaining.

Just for the record, how do we reconcile the "wash your face" exhortation with the fact that we walk around ashy all day? My intent is not to have people see my ashy smudge, I was blessed to be able to start my day with Mass, nevertheless, it's there and so I do "appear to others to be fasting"...

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