Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Lenten Journey, Part 5: What I Didn't Give Up

A Lofty Ideal

Every year when Lent comes I look forward to the quiet of a house with no television. I look forward to the extra time I have when I'm not perpetually sitting with my eyes glued to the set. But I look forward to other things too. Every year I dream of completely revolutionizing my life during the Lenten season. I want to free myself completely from my dependence on the material world and live a life of pure simplicity. I want to do this. I never actually achieve it.

The Dryer

I have a dream that one day I will get rid of my dryer altogether and only dry my laundry on the line. I do try do hang out my clothes as often as possible in the summer when running the dryer and the air conditioner at the same time seems counter-intuitive, but I'm far from being ready to live without it entirely. I was hoping that this year during Lent, at least, I would find the resolve to ditch the dryer, if only for a few weeks. It didn't happen. The fact is using the dryer is convenient while using the clothesline is...well...not. When there are places to go and people to dress and there are no clean socks in the house, I've got to get them washed and dried as quickly as possible. There are some situations in which a clothesline will simply not suffice. I dream, though, that one day I will find within myself the discipline to dry my clothes exclusively on the line. One day. Maybe.

Prepackaged Food

Everyone knows homemade food is healthier. Even if you're eating homemade junk food, it's still better than something that comes wrapped in plastic. As I was preparing myself mentally and spiritually for the start of Lent this year I thought to myself that I wanted to try to make all my food from scratch. Even snack foods. It didn't happen. Most of this has to do with time. I like cooking, but other aspects of my life often demand so much attention that there is little time leftover for preparing food. And the actual preparation time is not the only concern. There's also cleanup that needs to be considered. The more complex the recipe, the more dishes that need to be washed later. This takes time. Time that I usually don't have. Or, if I'm honest, time that I'd rather spend doing something else. And there's also the fact that when I really get motivated to cook I tend to go a little crazy with it, which more often than not causes me to put on weight, something I try to avoid if I can. But again, maybe I'll be able to pull this off one day. Maybe.

The Car

Oh, how I have dreamed of having a lifestyle that does not require me to own a car. The reality is that I do not live in an area where that is possible. Basically, if I gave up my car I'd have to give up grocery shopping because the store is a little far for walking. It might not be too bad a bike ride, if the store weren't located on a highway where I don't think I'd feel safe riding. But even if I could walk or cycle to the grocery store, there are other things I would have to give up if I gave up my car. My job for one. My dance classes and my children's dance classes for another. Trips to the library. The list goes on and on. No, the car is not something I could give up, not considering where and how I live. But maybe one day. Maybe.

Paying It Forward

You may have picked up on the fact that I'm a bit of an environmentalist. Much of my desire to eliminate these things from my life stems from a desire to create a cleaner world. Lesson my impact. Shrink my carbon footprint. Leave this world in better shape than it was in when I entered it. I do my best, but sometimes I fail. I guess this is where the spiritual side of Lent comes in, as I remember that God knows we are not perfect, but he chooses to love us anyway.

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