(My computer is still being doctored by my brother, so I waited until Rob was finished with his evening work and jacked his laptop. It always feels a little foreign to me, but I am way past the point of caring.)
So, as Fiver announced dramatically at the dinner table this evening, IT'S THE WEDNESDAY OF ASHES.
Rather apocalyptic sounding, I know, but in truth, the older kids have been surprisingly level headed about the beginning of Lent. We've come a long way from the Ash Wednesday when a pre-school age Francie said DON'T PUT THAT DIRT ON MY HEAD! in the loudest voice she could muster.
After a pre-Lent family meeting, Francie and Fiver have each settled on a personal sacrifice that is both suitably sacrificial and meaningful to them. Meanwhile, Sally just wanted to know why she couldn't have a hot dog for lunch and why we weren't having dessert after dinner, even though she had finished everything.
Overall, I am much prouder of my children's simple Lenten efforts than my own. In fact, my very first opportunity for grace in the face of a Lenten sacrifice presented itself this morning.
Specifics are unimportant, but to say that it was an unqualified EPIC FAIL would not be . . . inaccurate. I wound up apologizing to my husband and my children all before eight in the morning.
Honestly, though, the start of Lent has never been my strong suit. After all, I am the girl who, during the year I gave up swearing/bad language, left Ash Wednesday mass and promptly cursed a blue streak.
I have to hope that the Lord looks kindly on those who get back up on their Lenten horses after landing face first in the dirt.
This Lent feels a little strange to me, mostly because these are the last few weeks of my pregnancy. When these forty days are over, this baby will be ready for birth, God-willing. I am feeling almost distracted from Lent, although I guess the last weeks of any pregnancy can be counted as a sacrifice in its own way.
Despite the physical discomfort of pregnancy, I do still feel the need to mark Lent in a more private and spiritual way and this unexpected computer break has been providing me with a lot of good insight into some areas of my life that have become disordered.
Last year, I closed the comments on this blog for the duration of Lent. I felt very led to do that and it was very good for me in many ways. This year, Amy suggested that maybe, through my computer's major meltdown, God was calling me to step away from the computer.
Of course, my gut reaction was NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! . . . . and that should give you a good indication of how much I time I had been spending on the internet.
After some prayerful consideration, it has become very clear that I have let too many things slide around here. I am not spending my time the way I should, or the way I even want to spend it. I have been shirking some of my duties and filling my time with computer-related distractions.
I am not giving up the computer entirely; I do find a lot of support and encouragement from the blogs and sites that I follow. There a lot of good and faithful men and women out there, my friends.
There are also a lot of time-sucks, and those are the things I need to cut out. I have all but abandoned my well-planned schedule for my daily household chores, I have let the younger two children watch too much television, I have neglected some excellent opportunities to add more prayer to my day, and I have just plain wasted too much time.
Not being able to be plugged in and logged on during the day has made a tremendous difference. When there is nothing else to do but wash my floors, then the floors get done. Funny how that works.
Waiting until the evening to be able to use the computer has also been a great lesson in patience and mortification of my desires.
I have been using my computer crash as an opportunity to rework my thoughts and my schedules. I need to be far more strict about when I allow myself to get sucked into the internet, even for those things which I consider to be uplifting or enlightening.
So, I'll be around this Lent, my friends, but hopefully in a way that will be more in line with my vocation to my family.
And now, like Cinderella, the clock is chiming to tell me that my computer time is up. I am already feeling more at ease with leaving this post the way it is just because I need to go, instead of fiddling around with it any more.
Have a blessed Lent, my friends, and I'll see you when I see you.