Despite years living in Southeast Texas and spending many a Mardi Gras on Galveston Island, I was never a Fat Tuesday observer. Not that I don’t love pancakes or any excuse for hedonism as it relates to food… It’s just that my Protestant upbringing was devoid of liturgical observances, and thus, I missed out on the road from Epiphany to Shrove Tuesday to Ash Wednesday through Lent.
In fact, the entire Lenten season was a mystery to me until recently when I started connecting saying “no” to my appetite with the concepts of fasting and world hunger. Those of you who want to bail now because this sounds a bit too religious or spiritual, bear with me; there is a link between Lent and my journey to better health and increased social consciousness. This has to do with being attuned to what is important in my life, core even, and what it might take to get there. The somber season of Lent is an individual, non-showy pact with oneself that requires actions (giving to the poor, prayer, fasting) to heighten spiritual awareness. I have made a pact with myself to do many new things (see post on behavior change) – maybe the blog is a bit demonstrative, but I use it as a tool to help my family and close friends support me and if others gain from reading about my journey, even better. By focusing on health rather than on food, I have found more time to consider other areas of my life that I want to address – my need/want to help others, especially my family; my desire to reclaim a more spiritual aspect to my life; and exploring the meaning of food and wanting to help the hungry.
Does this mean that I’m running out to get “ashed”, work in a food bank, fast, and give money to homeless? No – but I’m trying to be more contemplative and seeking health that goes beyond eating well and exercising.