Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. We aren't Catholic, but Peter and I have often given up something for Lent. Not under threat of mortal sin, like in the good ol' days of the Inquisition, but more out of a desire to participate in some sort of a lead up to Easter. For us, observation of Lent is a choice, not an obligation. In years passed, we've given up TV (ouch!.. and impossible during the Olympics... we love the Olympics), various items of food or drink, meals on specific days, etc. This year, however, will be a bit different. For me at least.
Last night, I decided what I would give up for Lent... my much beloved social networking. For me, that means Twitter, Facebook*, and reading blogs. I will miss my blog reader VERY. MUCH. But part of Lent is to abstain from something in order to use that time/money/energy to grow closer to God.
Wikipedia includes this description of Lent:
There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.
This year, my "fasting" will be in regards to my internet use. I feel slightly hesitant about this (especially the ban on blog reading) since I know that many of you come here everyday and I feel selfish not reciprocating. It will be a huge stretch to get out of the habit of checking my blog reader every morning. It will mean missing Lynn's next 6-7 pies, not hearing about Charlie's EEG results (although I'd love an email if you get the chance, Tia), missing out on all the great info/writing/pictures over at the Mothership and the Fishbowl, swooning over Kym's amazing pros, and not being able to keep up with the goings on of so many more of my favourite bloggers... who I can't link to because just going to the blogs of those last five has taken over 20 minutes BECAUSE I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL and couldn't help reading. I am weak.
In regards to the renewed vigour for prayer, I plan to read Contemplating the Cross: A 40 Day Pilgrimage of Prayer by Tricia McCary Rhodes. I've tried to do this in years passed, but life with little boys has gotten in the way. I'm considering reading it aloud to Liam, although I'm not sure how he will handle the descriptions of the whipping and the actual crucifixion... he might do better with an abridged version.
I hope to accomplish the focus on our neighbour by having a few new families over for meals, which does not quite emphasize social justice as much as I'd like, but it's something that we've fallen out of doing since Christmas. I also have an idea of something I could do with my photography in order to raise some money for Haiti. More on that later.
So anyone else giving up something for Lent? Anyone other than Peter doubt I can stay away from Twitter and blogs until April 4th?? Good grief that's a long time!
I'll miss you, my tweeps and bloggy friends! See you in the Spring!
*The exception I'm making for Facebook is that I've just started a Fan Page for Muddy Boots Photography. I don't want to just drop off the face of the earth on that one. So I'll be checking my fan page and my inbox, but the challenge will be to stay away from my main FB wall. If you haven't already, feel free to become a fan.
ETA: Just to clarify, I'm not giving up the internet entirely. That'd be just, well, impossible. I use the internet for too many things: email, banking, checking the weather, reading the news, finding recipes, homeschool stuff, and answers to other various questions from the mundane to finding the meaning of life, the universe and everything**. Plus we use Skype to talk to our family in western Canada, the States and Egypt. Skype is, duh, over the internet. There's just no way I could give it up. It's more the highly enjoyable yet time-sucking-black-hole of social media sites that I will be fasting from. One day down. (le sigh)
**extra points if you caught the Douglas Adams reference.