Sunday, April 27, 2014

how I ruined Lent

Since the snow events the school schedule has been crazy this semester.  In addition to the tweaked schedule I've been on a search committee and trying to learn how to use 3D rendering software and a 3D printer.  By the time Fat Tuesday rolled around I found myself sitting in Cookout in Greenwood with Sean, Blake, Katertot and Cessquatch trying to come up with a last minute thing I could do for Lent.

That situation does not scream "careful consideration" I suppose.  If you're new here and you don't know my take on Lent, type "Lent" into the little search window up there and read the Lent posts from previous years.  The basic idea for me is to give up something or adopt a new action that will in some way make me a better person.  The hope is that the forced practice of doing or not doing the thing during the 40 days will lead to me doing or not doing the thing in my normal routine. 

Blake threw out a lot of good ideas that night but when he said we should all give up complaining, that seemed to strike a chord with everyone.  All around the big table everyone said, "Ahhh.  That would be tough."  And like a bunch of goofballs who had no idea what they were getting into, we all agreed we were in.  We would not complain for 40 days and any infraction would cost us a donation to the money jar we set up to help Blake and Ashley bike across the country this summer with Habitat for Humanity.  We were excited and positive...for at least a couple of hours.

The next day was a tough one for all of us.  I complained about one of my classes.  A few of us dropped money in the jar.  It was ridiculously cold here this winter and while we love a good snow, if we get more than a few weeks of freezing air we feel we are being punished for sin.  Another day later it was terribly cold and windy and we had to do some horrible manual labor at a public sculpture site.  Three of us complained all morning.  Blake held out for a couple of weeks with his positive outlook on life.  The rest of us complained about him being so positive.  Finally he too hit the skids and quietly walked in the sculpture studio and dropped some money in the bucket.  I think unofficially everyone gave up.  Cessquatch and Katertot quit after a few days pretty openly.  I kept trying and I kept failing.  

But I had a secret backup plan.  On the drive home the night of Fat Tuesday I had been thinking about how the busy school year had kept me from sketching regularly in my sketchbook.  I bought Blue a sketchbook last summer and he filled it up in a couple of months.  I got him another and he filled that one up.  When I flipped backwards in mine time traveled from the present to a year ago way to quickly.  My 7 year old son was making me look bad.  So my other Lent thing this year was to sketch at least one thing every single day for 40 days.  This worked better than the no complaining thing.  At least I could draw the things that irritated me each day and still be on track.  

Things went well in the sketchbook.  I only missed two days through April 14.  Then, somehow I forgot about it until Easter.  Failed again.  Apparently I'm a complainer who doesn't draw enough.  

There's this old sermon that's become a caricature of sorts.  Apparently the entire message consisted of the guy saying, "It's Friday.  But Sunday's coming." over and over again until his congregation got the idea that he was talking about the change from Good Friday to Easter Sunday.  I sucked at Lent this year and failed miserably at changing my actions.  That's Friday.  But now I realize that I do complain a whole lot more than I ever imagined.  I realize that I accurately recorded about 30 days in sketches and my drawing skills got better before I fell off the wagon.  With that in mind, I can head toward summer consciously trying to be more positive and making a point to draw every day.  Sunday's coming.

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