a Mary Moment Monday post
I do love my coffee. I once fasted from coffee for the entirety of Lent. It wasn’t easy, and I’m pretty sure I complained every single day. By the end of Lent, though, I was weaned, and I had learned an important lesson: fasting is good for me. Not fasting from bad language or mean actions, but fasting from food, something I like a lot.
Around Mother’s Day that year, I found out I was pregnant, and coffee was one of the things that sent me straight to the pukehouse. Couldn’t keep it down at all with that pregnancy. It seemed like no accident that I had felt so compelled to have it be my big Lenten sacrifice. All that fasting, in fact, seemed to suddenly have a purpose.
Lent is like that for me. It’s a training ground, though I don’t often appreciate it when I’m in the midst of it. I learn lessons that I don’t even know I’ve learned until much later.
This year, Lent doesn’t start until March…and here in the midst of the daily grind of February, I can feel that I need it. I’m plodding along, looking for joy, but I feel purposeless and drifting.
In fact, I feel ugly…not just because I need to get my hair done, but because I’m overdue for confession and I’m achy and ouchy. Long hours all around, lots on the family docket, much to think about and plan for and stress over…it’s all mixing together to make Ugly.
My solution has been to buckle down more and make getting up early to pray a non-negotiable. My morning shower, no matter what hoops I have to jump through to make it a reality (including, but not limited to, rewarding children with candy), is another non-negotiable.
This isn’t depression, not really–this is different than what I battled before (and still battle). Maybe it’s just that I need to look at my daily duties with a new perspective; maybe we’re still adjusting to the addition of another person (assuredly, we are); maybe it’s the armpit-of-winter effect.
Did Mary ever look at the day ahead and feel a cocktail of overwhelmed plus unimpressed? Did she hold her arms out to embrace the day, only to find them covered in…well, never mind? Was it lonely and crowded and confusing as she discerned God’s will and tried to follow it? Or is it just me?
I’m thinking it’s not just you. (I’m also wondering why I am so confused about when Lent starts this year, despite having the church calendar hanging right up above my desk. I’ve been convinced for weeks that it starts right after Valentine’s Day. If you hadn’t said something, I’d still be thinking that!)
TS Eliot was wrong. February is the cruelest month.
It’s always good to have company. 🙂 Thanks, Barb. And glad to help you. 🙂
I have more than one church calendar–one by my desk, one in the kitchen. If
not for doing the church bulletin, I would be floundering and wondering
where Lent was… 🙂
Unfortunately the people in the choir I sing with depend on me to know these things. I’ve got them all convinced that this coming weekend is the last time we’ll be singing the Gloria and Alleluia for a while. Eeek!
Oops!!! Chance to practice humility? 🙂
Interestingly enough, I’m considering a coffee fast for Lent this year. I’m been (unsuccessfully) trying to reduce my intake for weeks now and am hopeful that Lent may give me the motivation I need.
I often feel “ugly” at this time of year too. I’m convinced it has much to do with the dark days and cold temperatures. My feelings usually improve as spring approaches. Hopefully, yours will also.
The hardest part of the coffee fast for me was at the beginning. Every
pregnancy (last one less than the other two) has lowered my intake.
For me, it’s as much about being attached to it–I have, for lack of a
better term, an addictive personality and it is those things that I try to
distance myself from during Lent. And I’m no good at it, mind you. I SOUND
good at it, but that’s because you can’t see inside of me. 🙂 Good luck!
As for improvement during spring, yes. Yes, it will. The lengthening days
and the sunshine the last few days has helped. A lot. But…it’s still
There was a comic in yesterday’s paper about whoever designed February to only have 28 days while other months have 30/31 was bad at math.
That may be true, but I do believe that it’s a kindness that February is so short…
True dat, Barb! 🙂
It is a hard time of year. Combine the waiting for Lent to start, the never ending cold weather…sometimes snow, and waves of grief that roll by when least expected…ah…we need a good dose of spring. So, a warm cup of ginger peach tea! And, on those really bad days…a good cup of coffee…or cappuchino…or latte…. ; )
Hmmm, Ginger peach. You have inspired me…my afternoon tea shall be that!
OK, straight off, I can’t do a coffee fast. God gave me coffee to allow me to function in a reasonably civilized way and I am too weak to try and overcome that. So I just cant go there. Now that I have that off my chest, I am with you. This winter has been particularly hard for me mentally and emotionally. Stress of life, stress of job, seasonal affective something, underlying depression, the whole works. I like all that you wrote. The only thing I see different for me is that by trying to power through the issues makes me feel doubly bad when I inevitabley come up short,; dont feel like I “should”. My tactic has been to work on discipline in small ways and constantly having a real talk with God both as I go throughout the day and making more time to meet with Him in church. He has done some amazing things to PROVE to me He is listening and He is softening my heart and will so that I don’t see life as MY problem but, rather, ours (and mostly His, at that). My job is to cooperate and remember I dont know best. Blessings to all!
Great thoughts, Mark. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here! Prayers for you.
Ah, Coffee. Necter of the gods! I have given it for Lent a couple of times.
I agree with your idea that Lent can be a training ground. I’ve used it that way to help curb some bad habits (I’m afflicted with a sweet tooth), and to develop more postive hibits – like daily Rosary. Thnaks for posting this.
Thanks for commenting! 🙂