Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fat Tuesday

For most of the last six or seven years, this would be the night when I would diligently dispose of any of the "fat" remaining in my household prior to the beginning of the Lenten Season.  By "fat," I'd mean "beer."   I've consistently made a point of giving that up, as it is the indulgence that I tend to prefer above most other indulgences.

But this year, well, I just didn't do it.  At the end of February, I finished the last 22 ounce bottle of my brew-your-own, a variant on a simply stunning recipe called "Mountain Beast."  It was the perfect mix of light malt sweetness on the front end, mingled with the subtleties of a grain suffusion, and with a smoothly floral hoppy followthrough.  At 10.49% APV, it was also a singularly potent beer, particularly given it's complex yet accessible nature. 

And with the last few drops ingested, and the knowledge that the Lenten season was a few weeks away, I decided that it was time to start the fast, and simply stop drinking beer and any other form of alcohol.    Honestly, as the supply of beer was whittled down night by night, I found myself actually looking forward to starting Lent early, to setting that fun but midsection-expanding activity aside.  Eager to see what impact it might have on me physically, now that I'm exercising far more regularly.  Eager to see how it might effect my dreaming, as my REM sleep is consistently more vivid when my intake of C2H5OH is eliminated. 

So Lent begins, and I've hit the ground running.

Fat Tuesday always struck me as peculiar.  Great fun, but peculiar.

If you take Jesus folk at their word, the forty days prior to Easter are part of a time of fasting, refocusing, and spiritual discipline.  The only reason to undertake such a thing is if you're excited and eager to refocus and redirect yourself in ways that move you closer to God.  We are, in this event, ritually renacting the Nazarene's trial in the wilderness, that time of purification and preparation and self-cleansing in the desert that Jesus undertook before he embarked on his Kingdom Tour of Galilee.

I just can't seem to recall anywhere in the synoptics hearing that Jesus spent the night before narfing down bacon and finishing all of the wine in the house, or offering Wilderness Beads to any Judean hotties willing to lift their veils.  "Show us your nose!"

Maybe that'll be in the new 2011 NIV.

Whichever way, it's nice to hit this Ash Wednesday not looking Ashen myself.