We all know what the tradition has become.
- Shrove Tuesday stuff yourself full of pancakes which you rarely eat the rest of the year.
- Ash Wednesday give up something you engage in the rest of the year.
For sometime now I have not been one for giving up something during Lent just for the sake of it. If I need to give up something I don’t wait until Lent, or indeed New Year, I just do it. Instead I am a supporter of the idea of purposefully doing something during Lent. However it is rare indeed for it to remain part of my life once the Glory bursts from the tomb and weary fishers are once more welcomed on the shore. Is Lent really only about given up something we like or taking up something which we find tiresome and wouldn’t engage in the rest of the year? Of course it isn’t, but I fear it is danger of becoming so. However on this just the second day of Lent, I have discovered a third way.
Last night I had a craving for a boiled egg, but decided that rather than having it last night I would have it for breakfast this morning. (I currently have the dreaded lurgy and the thought of getting up out of bed to make it was just too much at that point.) So instead last night I had some melon which Mr Marks and Mr Spencer (other Misters are available) had so kindly prepared for me and fell asleep in-between the hacking coughing attacks to dream of a perfectly boiled egg, on fresh toast with just the right amount of butter and marmite spread upon it. Okay I didn’t actually dream it but I was looking forward to it.
As the coughing stirred me from my slumber this morning I recalled my plans for breakfast. My taste-buds started to tingle before a bout of sneezing tried to interrupt the coughing leaving me bent over of the floor gasping for breath. Giving thanks that I had, had my flu jab and that things couldn’t get much worse, my body eventually decided to calm down enough for me to head to the kitchen.
(Now dear reader, I know that there will be those of you reading this who like your boiled eggs runny, and those of you who like them hard, and those of you who like them that sticky way when they are not quiet either of the others, so please do not judge my egg cooking method for it produces the perfect egg for me.)
My one fear as I headed downstairs was that Hubby might have taken all the bread for his lunch unaware of my plans for a slice of it, my fear however was unfounded. So, slipping a slice of bread in the toaster ready to press down at the appropriate time; grabbing a pan, filling it with water, placing an egg in the cold water and turning the gas on high beneath it; I turned to load the dishwasher sure in the hope that last nights craving was soon to be satisfied.
Are you keeping up?
The pan of water now boiling nicely I press down the lever on the toaster, get out a plate and a knife, move the butter dish over to beside the plate (yes butter – when the smallest tub of lurpak is even too big then why not!) open the cupboard and then … well then I had an epiphany about Lent.
Dear reader, for you must be a dear reader to still be reading – I have most certainly broken one of Anne’s blogging commandments and gone over the word limit – you see it is like this. I opened the cupboard and while it wasn’t bare like that of Old Mother Hubbard, there was a gaping space where the new jar of marmite which I had forgotten to buy should have been sitting. I was going to have to have my boiled egg and toast without marmite! Some of you will be now sharing my pain others will be pulling faces in disgust, for marmite must be among the top ten most love it or hate it things, indeed it wouldn’t surprise me if it has the top spot.
‘Get on with it’, I can hear you cry; ‘what about Lent?’
Well it is about enhancing. For me marmite enhances the flavour and joy of boiled egg and toast, for others having marmite removed would enhance it. Lent isn’t about what you give up, it isn’t about what you take up, it is about taking time to find what will enhance your Christian journey, about putting in the effort to make those enhancements a reality. So I would like to ask a different question this Lent one that embraces the old – what have you given up, or what have you taken up – and makes it neither love it or hate it but rather live it.
How are you enhancing your life this Lent?