So, it’s Friday and this morning I went to the health club and worked up a tremendous appetite. I came home and made myself a nice omelet and only after I plated it and sat poised with my fork above its fluffy goodness did I realize I put diced Canadian bacon in it. Knowing full well that I shouldn’t be consuming meat on a Friday I was completely perplexed. It was completely cooked and I felt like throwing it out would have been an extravagant waste of an entire meal. There was also no way of avoiding the chopped up meat, it was completely incorporated into the omelet. I asked for forgiveness and ate it anyway.
Definition: forgiveness (noun) fə giv nəs 1. Act of pardoning somebody; the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing. 2. Forgiving quality; the tendency to forgive offenses readily and easily.
So far this season of Lent for me has been the farthest thing from my mind. As I mentioned in the last blog, I started Lent at a work conference. I left that conference with a huge fever and was unbelievably sick for a solid week. Then, as I returned to work my mother’s husband ended up going into hospice and just passed away this week. This week my mother will be my priority as I help her gather photos for the memorial service and pick up and host relatives at my home that are coming in for the service. It seems like any attempt to mindfully observe Lent are being railroaded by situations out of my control.
This morning when I made my omelet I wasn’t thinking about abstinence, suffering or any other aspect of Lent so I mindlessly added the Canadian bacon to my breakfast. I was so relieved to finally get back into my routine and hit the gym after a two week absence and recuperation that I never gave Lent a thought. My growling stomach and fitness minded brain was thinking “protein and limit those carbs”, not “meatless Friday”.
Lent is all about suffering, and finding a way to connect with Jesus’ suffering on the cross. Most of us are blessed enough to live comfortable lives with plenty of food and no worries about shelter and basic necessities. We need to actively pursue this connection to suffering. For the last two weeks I have been tending to pressing needs both with my physical health and my mother’s grief. I think my Lenten suffering has been happening but completely by accident.
Maybe a mindful Lent for me will end up being a little different this year. I probably wont need to look too far for the suffering but I will still need to connect it to God’s love on the cross. And if things should start moving in a more positive direction over the next couple of week, I can always go to a more “traditional” Lent and remember not to eat meat on Friday.