All my years of Catholic school, and I didn’t realize Ash Wednesday was approaching until I saw Mardi Gras posts on Facebook yesterday. I didn’t go get my ashes. What I did do was think about all the times a priest marked my forehead with that black dust. A follower plunging myself into the darkness of Lent. I am in atonement mode. Forty days of deprivation. Usually food. After all, that was my crutch, and I was going to be good.
When I was a child, the rules of Catholicism were very important to me and informed many a private ritual, particularly evening prayers: If I didn’t do the sign of the cross right, did my prayer count? Would God hear me? Would my father? Both unseen authority figures. (We had many grainy pictures of my father, evidence he had been real at some point. At least that much.)
I don’t think I actually abstained from anything last year. Life was difficult enough. I don’t think I’m going to give anything up this year, either. Rather, I’m going to reflect. Forty days of posting on this blog. Forty days of gratitude. Forty days of words. Forty days of artistic exploration and experimentation. Forty days of awakening.
I took myself on an artist date today. A lunch of crepes, cappuccino and a chocolate chip cookie. A period of uninterrupted time to read a good book and work on my writing.