Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

And so Lent begins again.

It's a season I love and hate sort of equally.

For me it tends to be one of the deepest seasons of the liturgical year.  The most significant. 

It also tends to be one of the most painful.

It feels odd to wake this morning and not be fasting.

I've always fasted from something during Lent.

This year is different, though.

303 days ago I rather forcefully came face to face with the fact that the immense stresses and challenges of my life had essentially led to the development of an eating disorder.  I'd lost around 25 pounds, rarely ate more than one meal and a few snacks a day, and it wasn't unusual for the nausea I was experiencing to get out of control, and for me to go several days without eating at all.

So, I started counting, and tracking.  For 303 days I've been faithful in taking a large number of supplements to restore the things I'd depleted in my body.  And for 303 days, I've eaten three consistent meals a day.

I would normally do a juice fast at least once a week during Lent.

That's not an option this year.

I need to eat three times a day to make it possible to take the supplements that manage my energy levels and anxiety issues.

I thought about giving up chocolate, and I may yet do something along those lines.  But this year as I prayed through that thought, the feeling that came was that I would be "fasting" simply for the sake of doing something, rather than because I'd been led to it.

I talked earlier this week about the in-between.  I'm trying conciously not to rush that process.  Not to jump to the next thing, even when it is clearly in sight, but to be patient in the waiting.

It's not easy.

And so Lent begins, and I am waiting, listening, praying.


shallowfrozenwater said...

blessings on your Lenten journey Lisa. there are more parallels between us here than you know. at any rate, blessings.

Lisa said...

Thanks Ian. Loved your post this morning. Linking to it in a post with some other links to Lent/Ash Wednesday posts later today.

ally said...

Thank you for this post, Lisa. It has been such an encouragement for me. i identify so much with this post. i grew up Quaker, so Lent is a new experience for me, but over the past six months or so, i've felt so drawn to the rituals and liturgy of other Christian tradition. So Lent comes around and i want to fast, but i also have a history of disordered eating, and i realised this afternoon that right now, there is still no difference between a fast and starvation for me. i've decided to do a bit of "technology fast", but even that has its risks for me, as i still struggle with being vulnerable with friends instead of a quiet withdrawal from those around me. So, Lent may be a challenge, but i do have hopes of it being a process that will challenge my faith, my character, my life. Shalom.

Lisa said...

Ally, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you identified with some of what I shared.

I think there are so many ways to fast. And fasting really is about devotion - about creating an appetite for God. So, for me, this year, I think is going to be less about what I give up, than about what I add. What habits of devotion - reading, prayer, worship etc. - I commit to doing or going back to doing on a regular basis.

Praying that Lent is a time of great beauty and growth in your faith this year.