This is my 7th Lent as a church-goer, so I just barely have the material for this week's friday five. here you go....
1. no caffeine, no ice cream. Yes, I did this the same year. It was a bad idea. I was completely miserable, AND a new starbucks had just been built near the music school. I referred to Starbucks as "my personal wilderness" multiple times every day for the entire 47 days. Easter morning I grabbed Starbucks on my way to the sunrise service. and again afterward. And at brunch post-11:00, I had ice cream for dessert. And I proceeded to gorge myself for about a week afterward.
2. no bad-mouthing the clarinet. I gave up constantly over-emphasizing my hatred of the clarinet and the life of a musician. At least, I gave up verbalizing it. It really did help--I think I became a more positive person in the long run. I also got out of the professional music scene because I wasn't willing to constantly bad-mouth other people, either. I was pretty vigilant about this, and I had some friends who were tired of my constant "i hate my life, and it's all the fault of the clarinet" spiel who were great accountability partners.
3. starbucks. I didn't give up caffeine or coffee, i gave up going to a large chain retailer for my coffee. I had an espresso machine at home, yet I constantly spent money at starbucks. I had a great independent coffee shop in my neighborhood, yet i drove several miles to spend money at starbucks. So I stopped. And most of the time, it worked. There may have been a slip-up once or twice, but not more. But it didn't stick...once Lent was over, I went to Starbucks again. (it was on my way to work, that was always my justification. it's a bad one, i know, since SO IS THE OTHER PLACE, but...yeah.)
4. I tried "fasting like John the Baptist" one year...just on Fridays. Our Ash Wedensday sermon included an outline of different types of fasting, and apparently you can fast like JTB by only eating bread, nuts, honey, berries, and something else I've forgotten. (not locusts...and did you know that the locust tree produces carob as its fruit?) Anyway, I lasted two Fridays before Friday snuck up on me and by the time I remembered it was Friday I'd broken the fast. And then after that I forgot every week and suddenly it was Easter. It wasn't my most productive Lenten discipline, to say the least.
bonus: 5. I began singing through all the psalms in the Presbyterian Hymnal during Lent one year...one at a time. I'm a pretty good sight-singer, and I can often learn a tune using solfegge first (thanks, Dr. Atovsky--you were crazy, but I learned a lot from you). I kept going until I'd sung all the psalms in the hymnal twice. Now I'm using Michael Morgan's Psalter for Christian Worship, which is a nice change.
And the "one thing I might like to try that requires practice, attention or commitment": hmm...well, this year Jason and I have decided to work together on a Lenten discipline. We will sit down together every night and talk about things from our day that impacted us, and we will ask each other for prayer, and we will pray for each other, together, right there. So far, two nights in, we're good. Hopefully this can grow into a habit we continue. It will require lots of commitment because we are usually busy in the evening and often go until we're so exhausted we can't do much besides brush our teeth (well, i do anyway), and it will require practice in asking for prayer for anything and everything.
ah, Lent...what a great time of year. I have to say, I'm glad not to be doing the caffeine thing this year...though after last year I basically gave up caffeine permanently anyway (i get decaf at coffee places now), except for one thing: the occasional Dr. Pepper. Man, there is something about that stuff that I just love. When will they have caffeine free non-diet Dr. Pepper? This is what I want to know. That will be my happiest beverage day. :-) (I also still drink tea, but i try for decaf or herbal teas, or at least for a tea that has less caffeine than normal stuff.)
that is not a good ending for a post, but i can't think of anything else to say AND it's way past my bedtime, so...goodnight.