Having grown up in a particular (and peculiar) evangelical tradition, I've been a little confused by the recent emphasis of our last two pastors (the latter is a protege' of the former - but that does not make him a latter-day saint) on Ash Wednesday and the concept of Lent. I always considered that to be a construct of the infidel, not the true church as founded by inspired Texans at the turn of the last century. I suppose the idea of depriving oneself of a pleasure to achieve greater holiness is a time-tested formula, but my upbringing leads me to think that most of these "pleasures" are inherently sinful in and of themsleves, and therefore should not have been indulged in in the first place. This, of course, means that the gesture itself becomes a hollow practice that is merely self-serving to one's sense of piety, as it is re-instated at the end of what is an extended month.
Now, think of a lifetime where, each Lenten season, a vice could be permanently excised from one's repertoire, forever banished. Now there's a concept worth pursuing! Can I have an "Amen!"
Oh, sure, there are those that will say that I just don't get it, that I don't understand the true nature of using deprivation to focus on God and his plan for my life, to use the time released by giving up whatever it is in meditation and prayer. That's a great idea; I just don't think it's gonna happen.
So, I've decided, I'm going to give up "trying" for this Lenten season. I know, it's a little outside the conceptual guidelines, but a) it's suppposed to be up to me and God to decide, and b) I think I can acheive it, with divine help. I think, by not adding any extra effort, I can relax and focus on what's important, like cleaning off the top of my dresser, and organizing my shoes, and defragmenting my hard drive. To accomplish this, I will need pie, ice cream, candy, gum, breakfast, lunch, dinner, TV, NASCAR, Starbucks, Spaghetti, and all of the important aspects of my existence to be able to focus on not trying for the next 39 and a half days. I'm hoping that this will not be a trying time for my family, but I am committed to accomplishing this goal. I'll try and let you know what I learn - - no, I guess I won't. Not until after Easter. This is going to be harder than I thought. I almost blew it before noon the first day. Whew.