The liturgical season of Lent begins today; in this season, traditionally, people give things up, fast, and unburden themselves of dietary items like chocolate, coffee, candy, meat, and go on diets for 40 days in anticipation of the betrayal, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While I generally don’t find anything wrong with giving things up, as this is an act of “self-sacrifice” of sorts, during Lent, I tend to be a bit more critical, as it seems to be more acts of self-flagellation and less focused on the spiritual reason that lies beneath in the first place. This isn’t to say, of course, that many can’t give things up purposefully and maintain a spiritual countenance. But in years past, I have found that more people spend Lent bragging and complaining about giving up coffee, tea, soda, chips, beer and the like to their cohort than explaining the spiritual and faith-based benefits of unburdening themselves of these Earthly restraints.
With this all said, I have decided to do my own strange combination of adopting a practice and an unburdening in the 40 days of Lent. In this season of Lent, I have so much to be grateful for, and while I will spare all parties concerned the precise details (and most people can likely draw their own conclusions), I think that personally, my devotion to God this Lenten season should focus not on the punishment of my body, mind and soul, but rather on the betterment of it. Thus, I am doing a combination of things: Firstly, I am blogging my way through Lent, and in doing so, tackling a variety of theological, scriptural, political (hopefully?), social, cultural, sociological, and anthropological topics. I am taking requests, so leave a comment if there is anything that you might like me to approach (within reason, please…) over the next 40 days! Secondly, I am going on a “Project No Buy” for the next 40 days (and potentially longer if it goes well) with my makeup and beauty products. This second intentional act is to shed light on my human consumerism, which is quite significant, and also to be more intentional with my spending habits, especially going into my call as a hospital chaplain in San Francisco in the Fall, where I will be making significantly less, and won’t have a great deal of surplus income to throw around.
The backstory of my love of makeup I suppose is necessary: I began wearing makeup shortly after I got sick last year, and have fallen madly in love. Suffice it to say, makeup is addicting, and at times, you simply “gotta have ‘em all!” Consumerism is no joke, especially in today’s society, and when I looked at all the products I have accumulated over the last year the other evening, I realized, why not take a break during Lent and try to enjoy what I have for a bit, rather than continue to purchase what I simply don’t need.
Lent for me is going to be a mixture of sinking in (not to use the “Leaning In” title of a fellow Smithie’s book, a book that I simply detest…sorry to those who live by it…) – sinking in to learning, learning through faith, learning with others, through others, because of others (and because of this blog, through this blog). And also, Lent is going to be a cleansing – a cleansing of my habits of loving makeup to excess. There is nothing wrong with loving in that way. I have come to truly love and take care of myself in a new way, and it has made me love the person staring back at me in the mirror. But now moderation is in order, especially with reality staring me back in the mirror in a few short months.
Since I am going to blog my way through Lent, and I anticipate that I will run out of topics and thoughts pretty quickly, and I don’t want this to be free association and stream of consciousness for 40 days, please let me know what you’d like to see. I will tackle just about anything!
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