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10 February 2016 Ash Wednesday.  It’s another step in the march toward Easter and the march to Spring.  I had thought about going to Mass and getting ashes, but I did not feel like driving and, with driving, comes getting into and out of the car. That is not fun in a back brace. Instead, I stayed home, went walking, and fixed dinner.  J also informed me that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  So the guilt trip was called off.

“What are you giving up for Lent?”  I am resetting the context of that question.  We love to forgo little pleasures like chocolate or Coca-Cola. This year, I am giving up the idea that I need something I don’t have to make my life complete. In the material and secular sense, scratching the itch of wanting more has us buying more or borrowing to buy more.  On a personal level, I have spent the last nine months buying stuff from Amazon. I have the app on the phone and when I am bored, I am at Amazon instantaneously. And I buy, everything from Portuguese hair tonic to Luis Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou.  What I buy has value or meaning to me. If I read the books, and watch the videos, my knowledge would increase appreciably. I would be that much more erudite and an improved communicator. My library is well-stocked.  The acquisition phase has ended. The hard work of reading and comprehending must begin.  I will draw on the sufficiency and abundance at hand.

For the next 40 days, I will stop trying to fill The Big Empty. It takes about 40 days, 6 weeks, to ingrain a new habit. My walking since Christmas has again demonstrated that. The 40 days of Lent is about preparation for the central Christian event, The Resurrection of Our Lord.  My preparation is accepting that what I have and who I am are sufficient for Jesus to transform me. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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