The first time I started writing this post, it began:
A friend of mine received, for Valentine’s Day, from her beloved, a copy — a signed copy — of my book, Homesteading Space.
It went on to talk about how she’s hoped instead for a ring, and to make an amusing comparison between the value of Homesteading Space and engagement rings as gifts, based on the fact that the person I gave both to kept the former and returned the latter.
The second time I started writing this post, it began like this:
Going to the Ash Wednesday service last year was a natural progression of where I was at the time.
But, you know, my sad story about Lent last year really doesn’t matter, nor does a rambling recounting of the thoughts I had at the time about the significance of 40 days, etc. in the Bible.
So to begin the post a third time:
Today is Ash Wednesday.
Growing up a good Southern Baptist, I never really paid much attention to Lent, and have never given anything up for Lent.
But Lent played a significant role in my life last year, and I’m less Baptist than I was in the past, and so it’s been very much in my thoughts this year. And I feel called to do something.
I’m blessed that I don’t know the rules well enough to be bound by them.
So what to do? It’s not a temporary New Year’s Resolution. It should be something I’m actually going to be able to do. It should be something that draws me closer to God. And it should be something that causes me to think on Him more.
This is kind of bizarre, but it’s where I am — I’m going to be more serious.
Specifically, I have a habit of making jokes about my divorce and my broken engagement. A lot. And, for 40 days, I’m not.
There are several reasons I do. One, I love a good joke, and have no problem with it being at my expense. And, that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with. Two, it lets me laugh off hurts. And that’s fine, until the point where it becomes a lie. Because, yeah, there are hurts there, and pretending its a joke belies that. And, three, it can cross the line into a passive-agressive response. The things I’m too “nice” to say in truth, I’ll say in jest.
But the other thing is, it can send the wrong message. I’ve heard that people thought that the divorce was the best thing that happened to me. You know, divorce sucks. Period. People make comments about my charmed single life. And, yeah, I do cool things, and I try to make the most of it. But it certainly isn’t my intent to glamorize that, and treating those things like they’re jokes probably doesn’t help.
So instead I’m using the next 40 days as a macro version of the Reconstruction project I’m doing on my blog. Anytime I have a knee-jerk temptation to make a joke about those subjects, I’m going to shut up, and deal with them honestly. And likely just internally.
I’ll add that, in the meantime, this applies to no one but myself. I’ve never minded people laughing about it; I actually appreciate it. So no one else is bound by my Lent.
Also, I’ve been tasked with being more careful with my language. So I’ll try to do that, too.