Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Lenten Sacrifice

So every year I think about giving up something for Lent: some years I actually do it. Growing up my mom always encouraged me to try it and usually I would by giving up something silly and purposely doable, like Cokes or candy, which I didn't really consume much of to begin with. I am and never have been super religious, but the idea of Lent has grown increasingly interesting to me as I grow older. 

I gave up eating meat for Lent in either 2002 or 2003 and it was a REALLY rewarding experience. My roommate at the time participated with me and we helped each other out. We learned a lot about vegetarian cuisine and actually continued to abstain from eating meat for about a year afterward. Even now, I try to limit my meat consumption and go through long periods without eating it.

My brother and sister-in-law regularly participate in food fasts with their church. I noticed when I was with them over the holiday break that my sister-in-law was having an unusually difficult time with her decision this time. She would excessively salivate over everything she saw us eating and I started thinking and wondering why she was participating in the fast. I mean I know fasting is difficult, but it's something you're choosing to do and I believe that you should humble yourself. 

So in an effort to stop judging her, I started to think about what I could give up myself. I went through all my normal ideas: meat (again), alcohol, etc. but none of them seemed hard enough. I thought, what is something that would be REALLY hard to live without for 40 (46) days? Knitting. I do it everyday, I think about it all the time; I want to talk about it constantly. Not knitting is a true sacrifice for me.

I'm afraid that instead of just being a relaxing hobby, knitting has become a security blanket for me. It makes me feel good and I want to bring it everywhere, even when it wouldn't be appropriate. Or I'll be out with friends and think, I'd rather be knitting. There have even been times recently when I have chosen knitting over social outings. Sometimes I worry that I'm ignoring Clint in favor of knitting. I've also noticed lately that I'm insatiable; I finish a project and I don't even enjoy the end result - I voraciously start a new project. 

I've also been thinking, what else could I produce if I directed my creative energies in different directions? I haven't embroidered in a long time. I haven't been reading or writing nearly as much as I want to because I'm always knitting. And I'm also excited for the possibilities that exist that I haven't even thought of yet.

I would like to say that during Lent, I will update my blog daily. I can picture the posts: Day 10 - Withdrawal, Day 18 - Was I Crazy?, etc. but I don't think it's realistic. I also need to decide what to do about Sundays. I've been doing some research about Lent, just to know what I'm getting myself into, and I found out that some people exclude the Sundays of Lent and treat them as "celebration" days or "mini-Easters." The websites I have found state that Sundays should always be a day of rest and your sacrifice should be suspended, but that plenty of people don't abide by this and continue their Lenten sacrifice throughout the entire time period because it's easier. I was kind of excited by this prospect at first, but if Lent is about sacrifice then I don't think I should take the easy way out. I don't know, but I still have some time to decide before Ash Wednesday.

As a reward to myself (is that allowed?) I signed up for a sock club. I have wanted to participate in one before, but I have always been hesitant because of the cost and commitment, but with the sacrifice in mind, I told myself to go for it. So starting the last week in January, and every other month after that for the year, I will receive in the mail a shipment of beautiful, hand-dyed sock yarn, 2 sock patterns and other surprise goodies! I think the most exciting prospect of this venture is that I will have no say in the colors of the yarn that come to me. I don’t know why it’s so thrilling to me, but the idea of someone picking colors for me intrigues me. I guess because I’m hoping to expand my color palette and be exposed to colors I wouldn’t normally pick out on my own. 

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