Every once in awhile one of my kids says or asks something, which is very innocuous at the basic level, but then the more it rolls around in my head, the more profound it seems. I often wonder if the depth of what their statements conveys is known only to me or if I read into things too much. A little of both, I guess. At this point in my life, as we all embark on a new Lent, it feels more like God talking. So, here's a little portion of how a conversation went with Jackson (age 9) today...maybe it'll speak to you.
I'm folding laundry as Jackson curls up on the couch and asks, "How come we don't celebrate Mardi Gras?"
"Hmmm," I am thinking, "well, we sort-of have before. Remember last year at CLC (my internship congregation), when we had the Pancake Supper? That was on Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. It happens the day before Ash Wednesday." I am fully aware that my answer is insufficient and don't go into spiritual disciplines of fasting, remembering we are dust, and simplification. For some reason I think it's just too much for him (maybe it's the mom in me protecting his self-esteem - yes, I know...pride can be a sin...).
Jackson says, "But why eat pancakes before Ash Wednesday?" Exactly what I was trying to avoid. "Okay, here it goes," I am thinking. So, I say, "Well, Ash Wednesday is the day we start Lent, which is the 40 days which lead up to Easter. And during Lent we remember and try to focus on God and what has been done for us in Jesus. We try to simplify things. So, people eat pancakes before Lent as their last chance for awhile to over-indulge."
Jackson innocently states, "So, I guess we're not going to be having pancakes for awhile?" I laugh and say, "No, we can have pancakes..." He says (and this is what I love because it's simple and profound ), "Yeah, I guess we could have pancakes, but definitely no 'all-you-can-eat buffets' - that's definitely out of the question."
So - no 'all-you-can-eat buffets' for Lent, no 'it's all about me', no satisfying myself with things which ultimately don't satisfy. I'm hoping during Lent this year I can sit simply with God at the sparseness of the foot of the cross and be fed on the simple offering of bread and wine - then I really will be full.
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