Sunday, June 11, 2006
This year is the first year I have observed lent. I think I tried a few years ago and quickly abandoned the idea. The reason I didn’t do it is that I didn’t really think that I could ever hope to come close to the suffering that Jesus did on the cross by giving up 'blank.’ That and the people around me weren’t part of a tradition that participated in lent so really I didn’t even think about it that often.
I came across an article on the web (I’d give you the link but the article has since been removed) that described lent from another angle. It suggested that lent was more about shaking up your routine. It also explained that not observing lent (or actually doing what you gave up) on Sunday was a key part of the process because Sunday is about celebration. It sounded intriguing to me so I decided to give up baths.
I have to admit that part of the reason giving up baths sounded like a good idea was so that I could say that and watch people’s response. I didn’t give up bathing. I still showered. I just saved my baths until Sunday. People that know me are aware that baths are a central part of who I am. I tend to take long baths. I hardly ever shower. I do some of my best thinking in the bath.
So here I was not taking baths. No it wasn’t a profound sacrifice but you wouldn’t believe how many times I thought about it. I found that mixing up my routine in this little way made me think about Jesus more often. I found that giving up baths forced me to find other ways to take care of myself. I also found that I kind of liked taking showers more than I thought.
What was really great about this experience was Sunday. I looked forward to my bath. It was no longer just bathing, it was a celebratory experience. I actually did make it all the way to the end of six weeks only taking a bath on Sunday. This was before things started to turn around for me. I wonder if this was preparing me for the change that I was about to undergo the week after Easter…