This morning, I woke up and did what I always do: rolled over and reached for my phone. I checked my email (only spam and advertisements) and then my blog stats (nothing new) and my private (IRL friends and family) instagram account (quiet). At this point, my thumbs were driven by muscle memory and automatically clicked on my Wild Goose Land Instagram account, which is not private. Just as I caught a glimpse of what was undoubtedly an insightful post (a lot has been going on in the yarn world that I mostly follow), I remembered: it’s Ash Wednesday. Today I begin my lenten fast. I clicked off. What was I going to do?
The six weeks leading up to Easter are called Lent in the Catholic Church. They are a period of penance, prayer, and fasting in preparation for the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection. We are all called to follow in Jesus’s footsteps and during his earthly life, Jesus walked into the dessert for 40 days and 40 nights to grow closer to God, the father. He also battled the devil.
In an attempt to follow him, many catholics make sacrifices for forty days of lent and add prayer. I am giving up coffee and “consuming” public social media. As Eric aptly put it the other evening, “So no scrolling through social media?” Right, I told him. Yesterday was Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) when Catholics go on a bit of a binge. We try to finish up everything in the house that might tempt us during lent: the fats, the meats, the sweets or whatever else we might crave. I certainly wasn’t going to finish up the internet which isn’t to say I didn’t try. After a big meal (including my dad’s deep fried spring rolls, in an attempt to use up all of the vegetable oil in their house), beer, and cake for dinner with my family, I lay in bed, scrolling through various feeds: tiktok and instagram and twitter before clicking off for the night.
Before walking into the dessert, did Jesus consume, consume, consume all his earthly attachments in this way? Perhaps his mother, doting and worried, made him eat and drink all she could to prepare him. What else could she do?
In the morning, no longer able to so recklessly consume, I found time (which I so often complain that I lack) seemed to tumble into my lap. Even the few minutes required each morning to grind up coffee beans and boil water suddenly bloomed open, full of possibility. I wrote a paragraph on my phone and climbed out of bed.
This morning, the Holy Spirit stepped into the black void of mindless consumption and filled it with a little light of creativity. Happy Ash Wednesday.