The liturgical season of Lent is upon us and, although I have defected from the Anglicans and joined the Unitarians, I still find the challenge of a spiritual discipline inviting. During Lent, it is traditional to give something up for 40 days, until Easter. Note this is forty days and not forty-six. Lent may be a season for fasting but Sundays in the Christian tradition are ALWAYS feast days so the fast can be broken to celebrate once a week. In fact, it should be broken once a week. Man, or woman, cannot wear a hairshirt every day. Sometimes it has to go to the dry cleaners.
As I said, it is traditional to give up something for Lent. As I child I gave up liver, because I wouldn’t eat it anyway. I tried to give up candy but that never worked. Now I have a more sophisticated understanding and this Lent I am going to give up lethargy. Since I have a chronic health condition that frequently leaves me with no energy and a desire to just stay in bed all day, this should be a stretch. Although I’m not so sure the exhaustion of fibromyalgia really falls under the rubric “lethargy.”
Lethargy, to me, is a sort of physical, emotional, and spiritual laziness. It’s not doing what I could do. There are days, literally, when I can’t tie my own shoes. But I can still put on a pair of clogs. Or at least my slippers. There are days when I can’t unload the dishwasher but I can still make sure the dishes that migrate to other rooms in the house find their way back home. And there are days when I just plain don’t want to deal with the hard stuff of life in the spirit or mind.
So this Lent, I am going to make a real effort to do the things I can, even if I don’t feel like it. Note: This does not mean I will do the things I really can’t do. I do have a real medical condition and if I push too hard, I pay dearly. But I can do more than I sometimes do. And when I find myself being lazy, when I should take care of business, I will do the thing I am avoiding.
To that end, I have set these goals.
- I will not procrastinate on the unpleasant. If I have to make a phone call (I hate the phone) I will make it.
- I will journal daily, at least one line, as an aid to doing the hard emotional and spiritual work. Don’t worry, I won’t make you read it.
- I will blog daily about my progress when I make any and about other things when I don’t.
- I will work on my dang book every day. Even if it’s just finding the paper clips or reading some critiques from fellow writers.
So hold me accountable. Nag me if you must. (And I know some of you feel that you must.) And check back to see how it’s going.