Quote of Inspiration

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Atilla and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Monday, February 27, 2012

My First Lent

I went to church yesterday, with the entire brood, and as I sat listening to a small talk about Lent, I thought: why don't I give stuff up for Lent? Being raised Mormon, of course, we didn't do this Lent business, but now that my daughter is in Catholic school and bopping all over the house crossing herself, I figure I should have a go at it. I'm making it sound like I'm cavalier about it or making fun of it. That's not the case at all. I admit to not understanding it all exactly, having attended Episcopalian services only once (yesterday).

BUT, any sermon that is based on a Hemingway novel (yesterday's was), gets me at hello. Add a living historic church, wooden pews, traditional hymns and not one raised-hand, pair of khaki pants or man-guitar-band, and I'm willing to sign on the dotted line. I can't remember the last time I attended church services and actually wanted to hear the sermon. I mean, I wanted my son (sitting in my lap) to hush up about coloring and being bored so I could hear. I want to listen. Usually, even pre-kids, as soon as a sermon begins I start a mental grocery list or daydreaming about expensive and fabulous vacations.

I was beginning to think I just wasn't religious.

But yesterday, sitting next to a window with a view of the old bell, which rang before we began service, and smelling the smells of generations of people who had gone before me, I wanted to listen, I felt inspired and I was thoughtful about not only what was being said but what it was that keeps me trying (and trying) to find a church where I fit in and feel comfortable.

So, when the notion of Lent was broached, I listened. Turns out, you are supposed to give something up, and then you're supposed to use the money you would otherwise use on that item (wine, chocolate, gambling) and give it back to the church/needy.

I really love that idea. My sister's father-in-law says, "Ya, but who actually does that?"

Well, I'm going to. For the entire season of Lent (I'm still unsure as to the exact dates), I'm giving up dessert.

I know. That's big.

I'll figure up how much I would have spent on all my sweet treats, and then I'm putting it in the collection plate at the end of Lent.

It may only be $50, but I think there is something in the act of giving up, paying attention and giving back that feeds our soul.

What are you giving up for Lent?


  1. I applaud you for your courage! I would have to give up wine--that would be a sacrifice!!! xoxox, Mom

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and your mention of khaki-clad church goers made me chuckle. I've given up shopping for Lent. I did it two years ago and saved a frightening amount of money. I can buy groceries but no sneaky extras (magazines, coffee, a DVD from the supermarket). Good luck with the desserts.

  3. Cup of Tea: Oh dear...shopping. I would seriously suffer, but it would be so darned good for me! And imagine all the money I'd save to give away to charity.....there is always next year! Good luck!


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