Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Every Whisper of Every Waking Hour

When we were kids in parochial school, tomorrow was a serious point in the calendar, Ash Wednesday. Today was the absolutely last day before we were expected to give something up for Lent, ShroveTuesday, though I'm not sure any of us understood what "shrove" meant or even the origins of the term. 

As an adult, I lived for many years in Germany where Rosen Montag is part of the last gasp of Fasching or (as it's called in New Orleans) Mardi Gras or what our Brazilian friends know as Carneval.

There's an 'eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow it's all over' mentality that I find so funky Western Civilization. "They put Jesus on a cross. They put a hole in J. F. K. They put Hitler in the driver's seat and looked the other way. Now they've got poison in the water and the whole world in a trance; but just because we're hypnotized, that don't mean we can't dance."

It's been decades since I gave something up for Lent (truth to tell, I failed my faith and gave up Lent but then kept on living) and I've rationalized my failure by pointing out to myself that since I always went back to whatever I gave up (usually something to eat as opposed to a behavior change), I hadn't really changed at all, so surrender cost nothing because it was worth nothing.

And then I look around me, and see where we are and where I am in the midst of all of that and realize I didn't run backwards or stop running at all in order to be here (nor did any of us) but rather, just ran a step slower, a step less resolute, perhaps a shorter footfall until the distance grew inexorably between where we wanted to be (and knew we had to go) and where we were to end up, so far behind we could no longer see those up ahead.

And when the distance between us was too great to ever fill, we stopped and have forgotten how to start again. Which makes tomorrow, Ash Wednesday more important as a beginning than today can ever be as an end because I think I saw you try.
-bill kenny

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