Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Very very good

God is really quite good. I'm still a little bowled over at how sunny it was yesterday. I haven't prayed like that in a long time. But I also felt a bit guilty, praying for something so inane as sun. I mean, it wasn't entirely selfish (a few hundred people were involved), but it wasn't a life-threatening situation either. Still, God came through, and it was so nice that I have the sunburn to prove it.

How about that? 100% chance of rain, and I walk away with a sunburn. That's God's sense of humor for you.

So today begins Lent. I'm going to try some fasting this year. I'm much too addicted to food. I have a picture of a 2-year-old in Malawi who weighs 12 pounds. I'm going to carry her with me and look at her when I think I'm hungry. Food has just become such a comfort thing for me, and I do feel like it's damaging my reliance on God for my needs. So out it goes!

I'm also going to try to do morning prayer every day. This means getting up 1/2 hour earlier than usual. But come on, that shouldn't be too difficult. And besides, it's more important than any school work I could be doing. I got some guilt from spending the weekend with the rabbinical students - they are so devoted to their prayers - and theirs take a really long time and they are in Hebrew! So who am I to complain?

Finally, as is my usual tradition thanks to my previous priest Christopher, I will be doing the "discipline of stuff." Every year, we go through our "stuff" and pare it down to the essentials (which of course can include things with sentimental value). Usually that means I get rid of about half my clothes (no joke). Here's how it works:

You visit your closet, garage, storage space, etc. You look at an item. You ask, "Could a poor person use this more than me?" If the answer is yes, it goes to Goodwill. If it's no (which is usually the case with your old bowling trophy - please don't overburden the poor!) then you keep it.

It's incredible how you realize what you don't need as much as someone else. And the way it's phrased helps - it's not about what you want or need, it's about what someone else could use. And that changes the whole scenario.

I've even found myself rooting through my pantry and supplying my church with lots of canned stuff and beans, etc. I know this year my vegetarian shirt, which will never fit anyway, is going to my vegan activist friend. She'll enjoy it much more than me. See it doesn't even always have to be about the poor - it can be about brightening the day of someone you already know and love.

Anyway, I must get on with my life. Today's the first so there are plenty of bills to pay. Bless God, we've got a really nice tax refund coming. We actually paid exactly the right amount of tax (we got a refund of exactly 1 dollar from California, which will go to breast cancer research), but thanks to the lifetime learning credit, we got a little bonus. And quite honestly, we need it to pay tuition, and we've been paying so much tax these last couple years that I think we really deserve it!! When you faithfully pay honestly, even when it hurts (and believe me, it's been hurting to pay something that we could easily have gotten away with not paying), it comes around eventually (when you quit your job so your income halves - ha!).

I guess that's what Earl calls Karma. :-)


M.J. said...

Ah yes, Christopher sure taught a lot of us the importance of letting go of stuff!

Now if I can just translate that to times outside of Lent, I'd be doing well!

Anonymous said...

See? It's the sunburn. Glorifying other religions leads to a sunburn! It's only a foretaste of the fires of hell that you will experience if you continue this horrid trajectory!

Okay, not really, but Pat Robertson hadn't shown up yet. Nice pics.

BTW - I work in interfaith, and I wish I had clued into Stasi's project sooner. If any of you want to do a Festival of Faiths, the non-profit I work for has a handbook on how to do it. You can find it here.