|The tracks across the street from my house|
Lent was going great until week five. Among my intentions for Lent were to abstain from alcohol, to fast and diet (to lose about 15 pounds), and to read all the Flannery O'Connor short stories.
The first four weeks went well. I was down ten pounds, about half way through the 500+ pages of the O'Connor stories and drank only on Debbie's birthday and Saint Patrick's day.
Then week five hit.
We went into escrow on a new house. If you had asked me if I ever planned to move again on Ash Wednesday, I would have told you no. Lots of life changes have occurred since then (But that's another post.)
Then there was the unexpected house guest, the unexpected family get together that I hosted as a result, the unexpected road trip last weekend ending with a night out to celebrate multiple birthdays.
No time to read, the diet went out the window and the events of the weekend called for a drink (or three).
So was my Lenten experience a failure? No. Not really. Monday came and I resumed my fast, I read one of the longest of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, and avoided the temptation to have a night cap.
This year, I chose some challenging observances for Lent. I have retained my commitment to the goals and intend to keep going beyond Easter. It may take me until mid April to finish the stories. It may be the end of April before I loose the 15 pounds and I suspect that the few weeks of successful abstinence from alcohol will lead long term moderation.
I am confident that I will look back on Lent 2012 as a great success. I have learned a lot about life and faith from O'Conner (Although I may never be able to articulate why or how) and I have learned a bit about myself as well.
And I have learned as much from stumbling as I have from staying on track.