Like many church-goers these days, even at age 63 I find myself on the younger end of the pew in my congregation. The season of Lent began on Wednesday and I have to confess that the practice of giving up something like chocolate for 40 days never made a lot of sense to me, a merely pious exercise.
But observing my elders in the sanctuary, the matter-of-fact way they cope with infirmity, disability and pain, has led me to think differently about appetite and about sacrifice.
After the Mardi Gras
When the pizza box opens, my eye falls first on
the marginally larger piece, the one with the extra
pepperoni. There is something in the mind that is like
a tent caterpillar nest, waiting to burst open and consume
every leaf down to the limb. There will always be another tree.
Appetite is writ large on a moonscape of tar sands,
on the big gulps of mountaintop removal. Monster trucks
in the parking lot of the Mall of America. Our claw marks
on every shiny that got away. The money doesn’t spend itself.
And so these forty days after the Mardi Gras, to practice
letting go, to learn what we’ll need to know when the big fire sale
comes, when what we offer up is ability to see, or walk, or breathe.