Today is Ash Wednesday. The official definition (according to wikipedia) of Ash Wednesday is: in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter.
Here at 4:10pm I’m still walking around with Ashes on my head and have moved from annoyance to entertainment at the bewildered expression upon my co-worker’s faces. Oh Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday has been a part of my life since I was born. I was born into the Catholic faith and despite a few minor attempts at rebellion and some longer stints of bad attendance, I still remain a strong member of the Roman Catholic church today. When I was younger Ash Wednesday was a day where my parents dragged me down the street on a Wednesday evening to get some ashes on my head and then back home where we would promise to give up something as a family. As I got older that evolved into getting drug out of bed to go to Morning Mass and trying to wipe the ashes off of my face before school (oh the shame), and then being forced to ‘do something as a family’ for Lent. One long, cold, Lenten season my parents decided we were going to go to Morning Mass as a family…every day. I began to appreciate sleep a lot more during that 40 day family experience.
Once I was off in college, Ash Wednesday became a day where I had to give something up. During those wonderful years fighting the war against the eating disorder I usually gave up things like chocolate, or peanut butter, or all sweets. Even during the long years that I just didn’t go to church I found things to try and give up. I was successful one year in giving up cursing. I actually did a really great job and had to pay myself a quarter when I failed and dropped the F-bomb.
Obviously…that one didn’t stick. I should probably work on that again….
But I digress, Ash Wednesday and Lent in general has evolved for me personally over the years. Last year I dedicated myself to doing random acts of kindness for one person every week. It was really cool doing something for others rather than focusing on me. I liked it. And now, here I am at the starting line of another 40 days.
This year, however, is a game changer. I’m looking at this Lenten Season as a warm-up to the marathon of life I have before me. This year is a chance to make or keep implementing some amazing changes into my life, and continue to work towards having the life that I am meant to have. Did I give up something specific? Well that’s the understatement of the century. Someday I’ll elaborate on all of that.
For now I’m choosing to be excited for this new beginning. Another race. Another start.
I am Brandi Abel. I’m 28. I’m an Engineer. I’m Catholic.
Oh…and I still really like wine. (no I did not give that up!)