Monday, February 23, 2009

They Don't Call it Lent for Nothin'

It's here, my friends. Lent is almost upon us.

You may have noticed that the HomeFront Corp. is a Roman Catholic operation, and as such we will be undertaking the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and alms giving.

In recent years, I have tried to focus more deeply on what I need to do to nourish my faith throughout these coming forty days. It is more than just going without coffee (arhg!) or chocolate (ack!). It is about going into the desert of my interior spiritual life and emerging at Easter with my glorious risen Lord.

I know that sounds deep, but what I mean to say is that I've spent a lot of time being superficially sacrificial. I've given up things not with the goal of uniting my suffering with Christ's, but with a rote sense of responsibility to my Church. And with the hopes of a slimmer waistline six weeks later. Not exactly the way to grow in my faith, you see.

As a teenager, I never understood why my mother said that Lent was her favorite part of the Church year. I thought maybe she had been huffing incense. Clearly, Christmas was THE Church holiday, hands down.

Now I am starting to see Lent a little more clearly. I'm not saying that it's my favorite, but it's meaning and value has only increased in my life.

I consider this as a time of purification; a time to test the mettle of my faith, to find the chinks in my spiritual armor. It is always humbling to realize how weak that armor can be at times.

I think fasting gets a pretty bad rap in our culture at large, even though it is practiced by every major religion. We don't want to deny ourselves anything, but we cannot be open to God if we are full.

The question that each person must answer is "Of what am I so full that I cannot be open to the will of God?" Is it food, drink, excessive shopping, gossiping, television, blogging, improperly seeking the adulation of others? The list can go on and on, and, for me, it is convicting.

Many people question the practice of fasting at all -- what's the point? Why not just do something extra good instead? In thinking about it, for me, the question of fasting comes down to this: Do I love God enough to reject something that gives me pleasure?

Really think about that for a minute, because it's tougher than it sounds and humans are extraordinarily good at justification. This is where the rubber hits the road, my friends.

All of my thinking has lead me to this conclusion: I need to turn off the comments to my blog during Lent.

I first started contemplating the idea when Jen mentioned it over at Conversion Diary. My initial reaction was: That's hardcore! She is so good -- I would NEVER be able to do that.

And that was the moment when I think I knew I had to do it. If there was something I thought I could NEVER do -- for GOD -- then I was too attached to that thing.

I tried to get out of it, my friends, I really did. I thought of all kinds of reasons why I should not turn off my comments, and they were good ones: your kind thoughts bolster me on tough days; I have learned so much more about my faith and other faiths from you all; I have laughed like crazy at some of your comments and we all know that's the best medicine. The immediacy of blogging relationships is one of the things I like best about this whole set-up. Comparatively, I don't even have that many commenters. I mean, I wouldn't want them to be offended, right?

The list went on and on.

All of the above is true. I do value your comments, they do cheer me up on down days, I have learned so much from you, I do think the immediacy of blogging is part of its charm, and of course I don't want you to feel offended.

But the long and short of it is this: at this point I am too attached to comments for the wrong reason.

The ugly truth is that at times I need them so that I can feel like a good enough mom, good enough Catholic, good enough person, etc . . . We all like pats on the back, but all that stuff really needs to come from God and from me.

I don't know if what I write here is enough to keep you coming back. I don't know if it is good enough to keep you mutely hanging around here until April 12, and that scares me a little.

But I do know that if I don't do this, I will regret it at a very deep level because it is ultimately not about something as small as blogging. It is about something as big as what God wants from me.




PS: I will still be hopping and bopping around my favorite blogs, leaving you little notes, and you are ALWAYS welcome to email me (please? pretty please?), since I am not quite as hungry for email as I am for comments.

12 comments:

  1. That's the spirit, Aimee!

    And don't worry that you'll have to go cold turkey for the next 6 weeks. I'm sure I'll have to send you some 'comments' via email.

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  2. I will be here comments or no comments. Let me give you a few words to use in the next month when you need them:

    You are a great mom! I don't know how you do it! You crack me up! I totally understand! I'm right there with you! Thanks for the encouragement! Thanks for the insight! I could have written that post myself!

    Okay, that'll get ya through a few...I'll email, and Facebook when these start running out!

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  3. Good thinking, Aimee...I, too, love checking my comments and feel a little dejected on days when I post a lot and receive few. I have already made a commitment not to post on Sundays (art or archival photo only) and will also do the same on Fridays during Lent. But no comments? I am very tempted to follow you there. Without the comments I may be tempted to post less (oh, that fear of abandonment!)and spend less time trying to think up stuff for the blog. Hmm...it's worthy of my consideration...

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  4. No worries; you won't lose my visits. :)

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  5. Let me start off by saying that I truly admire you for doing this, because I think you have nailed the true meaning of Lent. (BTW, I just realized that the fact that I said "nailed" could be construed as a bad pun, though it was so not intended.) I think you've hit upon the true meaning of sacrifice...not that it is something that you need to do just because it is something you've always done, but because it is something that will help you in the end - to learn about yourself, your faith, and God. Kudos!

    That being said, I will definitely still check in to the blog, commenting ability or no...so go have a Fastnacht, and then have one for me because you know I won't get to eat one this year, and I'll you bright and early on April 13 when you start accepting comments. Besides...I'm your sister, you don't honestly think you can get away from me, do you? We're bonded by blood, for crying out loud!

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  6. Good for you! I will of course email you when I just can't keep my thoughts to myself. I'm still thinking about what exactly Lent is going to look like for me. I have some ideas, just need to really think on it. By tomorrow, of course. And don't even think that turning off comments means we won't be here to read. That's just silly.

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  7. GeeGee12:54 PM

    you'll never really be without a running commentary from your mudder...

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  8. Well let the church say Amen.
    I have a million things to say in response to this, but not much time to say them.
    Quick notes.
    I love Lent- like your mom.
    Love the concept of cleaning myself up...making myself healthier..kicking bad habits.
    Love that I try to make my home nicer.
    Love that I carve out extra time for extra Masses.
    Love the discipline that all the sudden I seem to have more of.
    Love that I won't allow myself (for the most part) to be sucked into behavior unbecoming to someone who is trying to be more Christian.
    Yes, I make jokes about stuffing M&M's into my mouth but the truth is that the M&M's represent a lack of concern that I have for my body sometimes. I have to take better care of it.
    I will never be skinny, but healthy is what I need to be in order to be my best for those I love.
    Love this post.
    I will reading all Lent and I always know that I can email you if I need to...unless you are turning that off too.
    Peace and joy.
    I love it all.

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  9. This was an amazing post, and I thank you for it. I actually quoted you twice on my blog today, I hope you don't mind. You have such a way with words! So this reader is staying put, combox or no. :)

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  10. I love my comments but sadly, they are running low lately. Anyhoo - I will still be here, silent or not.

    I value your humor and insight so much! Keep up the writing.

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  11. molly d6:11 PM

    I am totally not one to talk (as I'm not a frequent commenter - OK, I've commented here once, I think!) HOWEVER, I have to go against the crowd here and say that I've always felt that when bloggers do not open up the comments, it comes off a bit conceited to me. (gasp!) Kind of along the "I don't need you/your support" lines. Honestly, I lose interest in blogs that don't welcome discussion.

    All that being said, I understand your motives in turning comments off for Lent, and will continue to read. I love your humor! You bring fun to the drugery of everyday mommy-hood and voice what we all are thinking and feeling - in a way that can make us smile and laugh at ourselves. So I'll still be by to read, and am looking forward to (Lent and) Easter and Sunday donut runs too.

    And my Easter resolution will be to comment more often.

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Go ahead and say it. You know you want to.