It's really too bad that Lent will last all March long. I can promise you that whether you give something up
or take something on there will come a day in the middle of the month–that long, holiday-free month–when you wonder why you made that apparently seemingly
brilliant choice and how you can talk yourself out of it.
I'm thinking of the year I decided to give up
drinking mochas. It seemed like such a simple thing to do. I could drink a latte
instead. I even like lattes.
My family chortled at the thought. What could I
possibly accomplish on a spiritual level by giving up chocolate in my coffee? I
think they worried about how I would cope without the daily Attitude Adjustment
and what that might mean for them.
It wasn't the first time I made a commitment
related to coffee. One year I planned to stop buying coffee shop coffee and give
the money saved to a worthy cause. Other years I've taken things on; last year I
think I was going to write a poem every day, or work on one, or something like
But Lent is long. Lent is dreary, especially here
in Maine. We slog through muddy March, or some years we wish the snow would for
heaven's sake stop! We wish Easter would hurry up and get here.
As you may know, I recently took on a different
sort of challenge. I registered for the Knitting Olympics, a sort of contest
sponsored by the Yarn Harlot. The idea is to
cast on a new project during the Opening Ceremony and finish it before the
Closing Ceremony. The project should be a challenge to complete in the allotted
seventeen days. Taking into account my schedule and my abilities, I chose a pair
The organizer writes:
While this is
intended to be somewhat difficult (like the Olympics) it is not intended to ruin
your life. Don't set yourself up for failure. (Olympic athletes may cry, but
they do not whine pitifully, sob and threaten members of their family with
pointed sticks because they haven't slept in five days. ) This is intended to
(like the Olympics) require some measure of sacrifice, and be difficult, but it
should be possible to attain.
Now, I've made plenty of socks: men's socks,
women's socks, baby socks (sadly eaten by Sam), plain or with stitch patterns (such as the ones above).
But I have never made socks for which the pattern requires reading a chart. This
was to be my challenge. I studied the chart, and I tried to visualize
it. Somehow managed to turn it inside out (rookie mistake! how did that
happen?!?!!), and when I took it all out and began again, I realized the sock
was not going to fit on even a small woman's foot, which is to say,
While I did not threaten members of my family with
pointed sticks, I did get upset, and unraveling the sock a second time did not
exactly provide a catharsis. I felt like a failure. I came unraveled myself and made my own drama,
which not only seemed outside the spirit of the event but was a direct violation
of my New Year's resolution!
Like the Knitting Olympics, Lent is not intended to
ruin your life. If you are finding your
particular discipline hard to keep, remember that you are not alone. Others are
wondering what they were thinking, too.
As I write this on the eve of Ash Wednesday, I'm
not sure if I will cast on the socks again, but I can promise you I will only do
it if I can find the right attitude. Which may, as my family would tell you,
require the chocolate in my coffee I am not giving up for Lent.