Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Balancing Act of Lent

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday! Many spent the day celebrating - celebrating life in an indulgent sort of way. A last hurrah before the sobering Lenten season that begins today on Ash Wednesday.

We value frivolity and mirth making. There's nothing wrong with a great party, but I wonder if we avoid and even sacrifice contemplation and self-reflection as a result. You won't see much coverage of Ash Wednesday or Lent on popular media. But without them there'd be no reason for Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.

As an educator I feel the tug of spring in the air at my school, especially after such a mild winter this year. Students are having trouble focusing on what they need to do in favor of succumbing to the promises of spring break. They will carouse and carry on for a week before returning to complete the heaviest load of their school year.

We always appreciate more what we have when we lose it. A well deserved break doesn't mean anything without the pressures of work. Balance is only achieved when opposites exist together. We can welcome both in our lives and experience both fully and intentionally. So the students can enjoy their spring break and then come back to focus on their studies; you can party until dawn on Fat Tuesday and then get ashes on your forehead and focus on the next six weeks of Lent.

Both are important for a well balanced life and spirit. King Solomon said it best - "A time for weeping and a time for laughing; a time for sorrow and a time for dancing" (Ecclesiastes 3:4). You can't have one without the other.