Lent: There’s a whole lot of work to do around here

Shrove Tuesday run: a full on illustration of why I need a season of re-examination. I’m not proud of how this all went down. (Future pastor search committees: if you thought I’d be a good fit for your pulpit because you wanted someone who was a lot like Jesus, you’ll probably be moving on to other candidates by the time you finish reading this.)

The plan was to go for 40 minutes, about 3 1/2 miles at my penguin-like pace. So I suited up for the nippy weather, wrestled poor Abram into his gear, and away we went. We should note, too that I fueled up for this run with a smoothie. Super healthy. And brownies. Note, not A brownie. Brownies plural. I will pay for that decision not only during the run, but this afternoon when Zora gets home and loudly notes that all the brownies are gone, and asks for an accounting of exactly who ate how many. Then she will (rightly) lecture me on healthy eating.

In my renewed (2 week long) commitment to running regularly, I’ve confirmed that sermon podcasts are, indeed, my best running companion. Plus, it turns running time into an unquestionable spiritual practice.

However, I am picky about my sermons. Snobbish and provincial, even. So I listen to a new preacher this morning, and decide I don’t like her. Partly because she’s younger than me, and it makes me jealous that she got on a podcast. (So much for spiritual practice there huh?)

After deliberating about whether or not skip this particular sermon, my mind drifts. I should find time today to buy an awesome new coloring book for Zora because I have a sort-of-job-interview meeting that she has to tag along to this afternoon. And she’s already informed me that the cafe with toys where we were planning to meet, where she had BEGGED to go for breakfast earlier this week, is really not all that awesome. I think about driving to Target later. Or maybe I’ll detour at this corner and plan on running until I get to that art supply store that’s about 2 miles away.

As my impatience with this annoying young preacher (because I’ve now decided that she is annoying) mounts, I notice my favorite looks-like-vintage-ladies-store (which goes by the name of the field of study of human behavior) ahead. Sometimes they have awesome, artsy coloring books, sometimes on sale. I’ll go in and check. This will give me an excuse to stop running (I’m just not feeling it today) and to stop listening to the annoying preacher.

Turns out they do have an awesome coloring books on sale. I buy two, one for Zora and one for the birthday party present stash, which is getting a little low. (I make a mental note to actually, finally, reply to the birthday invite for Zora for this weekend…a mommy task at which I am frequently an utterly impolite failure.)

This particular establishment also has extensive clothing sale racks. By “sale” I mean that their normally outrageous prices come down to the sort of price I would maybe consider paying for a piece of clothing.

I’ve got that interview type thing this afternoon. A new shirt would make me feel confident. Plus, I’ve been running for two weeks. I deserve it. With this rationalization, I find a shirt and further rationalize that it is mostly black and thus qualifies as what I think of as hipster-pastor-wear. I add it to the coloring books, even though I really shouldn’t be buying it.

On my way to the cash register, I pass silent mental judgment on a mother who is frustrated with her 3 year old for taking off her coat. Even as I do it, I hear the sound of my own impatient voice being unreasonable with my own children on other occasions.

I give myself some credit for continuing to run after I leave the store.

But that’s about all I can give myself credit for.

It’s Shrove Tuesday, but that’s really no excuse for the envy, sloth, gluttony, among other things, that darken my day.

I’m ready for the smudgy ashes, and for the call to a observe a holy Lent.

Wednesday can’t come soon enough.

One Response to “Lent: There’s a whole lot of work to do around here”

  1. teri Says:

    I was all ready for this to end with “and then I realized I left Abram sitting in the stroller on the porch” or something. lol.

    I also find it difficult to stop the envy when I see people much younger than I doing things like preaching on semi-famous radio shows/podcasts, writing books, and keynoting major conferences. Part of me internally whines “how come I don’t get to do that???” while the slightly more rational part of me says “umm, maybe if you weren’t such a slacker…” oh yeah, simultaneous pride, envy, and self-loathing. it’s pretty fabulous.

    I think I’ll go have a paczki now.

    I’ll be thinking of you as I smudge ashes on the foreheads of the children in the children’s choir tomorrow night.