Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the Lent on the Catholic and Protestant church calendar. It is generally 40 days before Easter, and began today. (Last night was Fat Tuesday, the blow out party before the beginning of Lent.)

I am not Catholic, nor am I an overly religious person. I attend church (Protestant) fairly regularly, and our minister is incredibly well educated, traveled and read. His message is almost universally positive, thoughtful and practical.

Several weeks ago, our minister was speaking of the upcoming Lent season, and its meaning and significance even in a non-Catholic faith. In essence, he said that the tradition of "giving something up for Lent" is not one in our church, but rather a tradition we should all contemplate. Rather than view it as "giving something up" we should take the opportunity to make a change, try out something new, and make an improvement in our lives. Maybe it is dedicating oneself to volunteering for a charity, or reading a book, spending more time with the family or a more tangible change in daily life, but view the Lent tradition as an opportunity to make change.

So what does this have to do with running? I am not sure. I have contemplated those words for weeks, and still not sure what to do. I can dedicate myself to any number of things, but have to be real about my ability to follow through. For example, I could resolve to work out in the mornings (not evenings); I could give up alcohol (something I have seriously considered); give up red meat; or simply to eat more vegetables.

Perhaps, the best way to view this day, for me, is simply to reflect on the changes I can make, and to actually do one. Thus, I resolve (i) to give up beer and hard liquor, which I don't really drink anyway (wine will still be OK, in moderation); and (ii) to work out in the morning two days a week.

I'll give these changes a "test drive" and see how they work....

Oh, and today is my younger daughter's second birthday! Happy birthday!


  1. Good luck on your change challenge, and Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  2. as with me, its not necessarily about giving up meat but more about being more cognizant of what i put into my body (no animal products, more veggies and fruit!), how i TREAT my body, and also about the respect of my body for its true purpose (a vessel)and also to LOVE my body and to not always berate myself based upon societys 'vision' of what a perfect body is...

    happy birthday to your daughter! can i have some cake? i am REALLY hungry right now...

    Junie B

  3. Hi NY Wolve,
    I grew up as a good Catholic girl:) I am not a super religous person either but I would consider myself spiritual. I think that your list of ideas are great and you should have no problem staying on track:) Good luck!! Happy birthday to little girl wolve:) I bet she is a daddy's girl:) Happy Wednesday!!

  4. I grew up Catholic but have not been practicing for years. I am more spiritual then religious but Lent is not lost on me and I have been contemplating making changes in my life as well. Glad I'm not the only one out there thinking on it. Good luck in whatever you decide and Happy Birthday to the wee one! :)

  5. Happy 2nd Birthday to your daughter! My youngest daughter is exactly 6 months younger than yours. They grow so quickly!

    I like your ideas. Hoping you have a great experience making some changes.

    I was reading in your profile that you're from TX but live in NY. My husband is a lawyer - he went to undergrad in TX and got his LLM at NYU. Love the connections, even if just by state and occupation.

  6. Thanks for your note - I'll hope for a speedy spring for both our sakes!

    This is an interesting post. I've had similar conversations with myself about Lent, liking the idea of it as a time to live more intentionally and think about your place in the world. Of course, as a relatively secular Jew, I'm pretty sure I'm not the Catholic Church's intended audience on that one...

  7. Ha! Smart choices giving up what you don't do that case, I'll give up hard liquor and beer too. Wow, that was easy!
    I didn't know your daughter was so tiny, no wonder you're so busy, besides work, you're probably up all night still!

  8. That's a great post, and great words to live by. I'm going to mull that over in my head tonight and hope I come up with something good! 2nd birthday, how exciting! Happy birthday to her!

    I have thought about the Marine Corps Marathon, but I feel like NYC and Philadelphia have been such important cities in my childhood/life that I want one of them to be my first, but I guess I can't be too stubborn and when push comes to shove I may have to give in. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Good luck with the Lent resolutions. If you stick with them for 40 days, it will be easy to keep them going even longer.

  10. Great post. Happy Birthday to your daughter


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