Monday, April 03, 2006

Lent and beyond

We're more than halfway through Lent, although I must confess that this year the liturgical season of Lent didn't coincide with my emotional season of Lent. As far as I am concerned, Lent began sometime around August 29 and in some sense is still going on. If Lent is a season for spiritual reflection and self-denial, well, we in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have had plenty of that since August 29. And in terms of the tradition of "giving something up for Lent," we have along the way given up such taken-for-granted luxuries as electricity, gas, water, phone service, newspapers, mail delivery, garbage pickup...and let's not forget cable. In my little corner of the world we have all that back now, except for the delivery of magazines and catalogs (never mind the junk mail -- it's really nice not to have all that, except for the few mailers who have switched to first class to get those ads through anyway). I have had enough of Lent in the sense of self-denial, to be honest with you. I am ready for Easter. In fact, I would be happy to sail from Mardi Gras (the ancient religious feast day immediately preceding Ash Wednesday) directly to Easter this year, thank you very much. Sorry, the blog creator is again not permitting paragraph breaks. Since September I was telling people we really needed Mardi Gras this year. We did have Mardi Gras, and it was wonderful, but now we really need Easter...a spiritual resurrection. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, and then comes Holy Week. I wonder what Holy Week will be like this year? Perhaps a time to sit down, take a deep breath, stop worrying about levees and federal funding and upcoming elections and all that "stuff" for just a little while, and look to the horizon, to the much bigger picture, to the road leading to the cross and beyond. What happened that week in Jerusalem two thousand years ago is still valid in the post-Katrina world we live in. It's one of those few things that didn't change when life as we knew it went from B.K. to A.K. And that's important to remember.