Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Lenten Journey



It's Ash Wednesday, which means it's time to talk about Lent again. Don't worry, this isn't going to be all about religion beyond a little bit of explanation, which is important to me, but I get isn't important to everyone. So just bear with me?

For those who aren't familiar with the practice, Lent reminds Christians of the 40 day period Jesus spent fasting in the desert. It marks a period of prayer and fasting for Christians in the days leading up to Easter and Christ's resurrection. A lot of people don't observe it, even a lot of Christians, but I like it for its somberness. And at least for me, it's a good way to think about what stands in between me and God. Or if you're less into the God idea, me as I am and me as I'm meant to be. 

During Lent, most people do things like add extra prayer time and/or give up things like sugar and Facebook. I've done things like that in the past, but in the last few years, I've opted to take a more creative approach. Two years ago, I gave up stress. I forced myself to find ways of coping that didn't involve endless worrying. I ended up quitting my job that year. Last year, Doug and I gave up one of our two cars. We didn't drive the second car for 40 days. Later that summer, we sold our second car. It seemed like such a waste to have two when most of the time both of them just sat in the driveway at home. I'm not proposing anything quite so radical this year. At least, I hope I'm not. 

This year, I'm adding something: going somewhere every single day. Now that I work at home, there are days when I literally do not leave the house except to walk the dog. It's even worse in the winter. But not leaving the house makes me morose, bored, watching too much television and not participating in my community, which I always say is important to me. It's pretty pathetic, actually, and I know I'm not taking advantage of the resources I've been given. So here are the objectives.


1. Be grateful for where I live. 

The DC area is really rather amazing. Millions of people come here every year to take advantage of the things we have access to every day. In my case, that's mostly taking advantage of our amazing museums. And because we live here, we can see more than just The Boating Party, the Enola Gay and Dorothy's ruby slippers. Plus not only are we just two hours from the ocean and the mountains, we're two hours from Richmond, three hours from Philadelphia and just four(-ish) hours from New York. So even though we wish we lived in Staunton, we also should be grateful for what we have here.


2. Be grateful for what I have.

Now that we're a one-income family, it's easy to get caught in the trap of wishing we had more. And sure, there are some expensive things that require a bit more saving and planning, like major travel. But when it comes to day-to-day living, we have a lot to be delighted by, not the least of which is each other. Also because a lot of the best museum collections in DC are free to visit!

Ascension Triptych at Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton, VA, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany

3. Look forward to tomorrow because there won't always be one. 

My days are much the same. I get up, I blog, I cook, I go thrifting, I read, I wait for Doug to come home. When people ask me what's new, I generally don't have a good answer. And even though I love my life and love what I do, I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a rut, which leads to me feeling sad instead of thankful. Whatever life after death holds, I want to be sure I've done what I can here to make life more bearable for those around me. 

I won't be blogging my adventures every day (the idea is to get out of the house, not park myself in front of the computer), but I will be chronicling my travels on Instagram and Twitter so if you're interested, you can follow along there. I'll also be posting a schedule on Monday of every week so you can see just how many great opportunities there are in the DC area to see and do and taste and enjoy wonderful things every single day of the week.

Here's the plan for the next few days with ticket costs where applicable. If you see me, say hi!

Wednesday, March 5th: Northside Social and Arlington, Virginia thrift stores
Thursday, March 6th: Phillips After 5, Mad Museum: The American 60s, The Phillips Collection, $12
Friday, March 7th: William Kloss on Modern American Realism, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Saturday, March 8th: Community service project at Main Street Child Development Center
Sunday, March 9th: Service worship at Common Table, Jammin Java in Vienna


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