For the first time ever, everyone in the house is doing something to mark Lent. Big daughter has given up chocolate (I think she must have chosen the hardest task!), small daughter is doing her best to say, “Muuum!” less than 3,000 times a day, and my husband has given up the glasses of beer that he enjoyed at the weekend. I decided that I wouldn’t give anything up (I gave up sugar in tea in January and I’m still working on that one) but would instead focus on something new.
It took me a while to decide what I could do that was new; I like to think that I’m already aware of my surroundings and other people. I try to help others when I can, and I also try not to be too helpful, which sometimes defeats the object. I think about the environment and turn off the lights at every opportunity (sometimes while people are still in the room!). I’ve learned to meditate so that I can have a moment of stillness to carry me through the rest of the day.
So that’s what I’ve done that’s new. I’m trying to make my moment of stillness last as long as possible through the day. Aside from not turning into screechy Mum when we get to the school gates and small daughter has forgotten her coat again, or the dog has needed to be fished out of someone else’s ornamental pond because he fancied a swim, the family have noticed that it’s as if the whole house is experiencing that moment of stillness and whatever the trials of the day, home is a calm place to return to. I like to think that I’m pretty organised anyway, but I’ve pulled my forward planning forward. I’m a month ahead with my university dissertation. I’ve made a start with the vegetable plot when I’d usually leave it for another month to see how the weather improves. I’ve even got our summer holiday organised.
At the moment, it’s all going well. Big daughter is surviving without chocolate, small daughter only said “Muuum!” 2,547 times yesterday, my husband isn’t really missing the beer at all, and the house and I have been remarkably calm – but we are only in our first week! The rest of Lent stretches a long way ahead of us, but at least it’s a finite time so we can mark our achievement with the celebration of Easter – which, this year, will be quite a celebration for big daughter if she can eat chocolate again!
There’s just one member of the household who’s not doing anything though – and that’s the dog. Do dogs mark Lent in any way? Probably not, but I can think of a few things I’d like the dog to give up, not least opportunistic swims in ornamental ponds!