Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's What the Heck / Meaning of Life

On our Lane

Some people, no matter what, will stick to a position either for or against religion with the same singled-mindedness they accuse each other of having.  There is nothing wrong with walking the middle path. 


I’ve admitted that I was raised Roman Catholic in other posts and that in recent years I’ve questioned following blind faith.  I like to think that I have an inquiring mind, and my quest is to find answers with an open mind and heart.  Thus this is my journey, to search for the meaning of life by questioning.  I know, some questions will not have an answer, but that doesn't mean I should stop searching, does it? At the end of the day, you give your life meaning by how you live it. Life is a journey, and at every corner I welcome surprises as I walk the middle path picking up nugets along the way.  Sometimes I even return to traditions that have served me well in the past.  Nothing wrong with that! 
   
Like for example, lent. Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2011 to Holy Thursday marks the Christian lent period.  Although I don’t observe most Christian traditions I do follow lent because it's been a childhood practice that works for me. Besides, lent gives me satisfaction when I successfully complete the forty days. 
 
That said, I give “lent” my own purpose and meaning, which for me means to improve my personal spiritual practices by being introspective.  To that end, I make sacrifices of things that for me I see as indulgence. One year, I gave up chocolates, another year it was coffee, always something not too major but something that was hard to give up. Giving up something that you enjoy places greater focus on the action and fosters appreciation for it, not only that, but it helps you be more present. Traditionally it is a time of fasting and reflection, which still holds true for me today as it did when I was younger.  

Another reason I like lent, although not always an easy task, is I more often than not keep my resolution for the forty days.  I think, one of the reasons it works is that it has a realistic time line.  Unlike New Year’s resolutions, which starts January 1st but has no definitive end making at least 90% of participates quit as soon as the bubbles in the champagne are flat. The other reason it works, is that I require a realistic goal, so nothing too daunting or serious.   Heck, maybe it is just the guilt embedded in me as a child to keep to the resolution.  Whatever the reasons for my success durning lent, as long as it works, which it does, I'll keep doing it.  Best of all at the end of lent there is a celebration, a renewed life, embracing life and moving forward.  

This year, I am giving up facebook!!!!  There.  I plan to use the time I would be spending on facebook for meditation and reflection.  To be sure, there are more serious luxuries I can give up, but this actually helps me focus on more meaningful things in my life.  You wouldn't believe how much time is wasted on facebook until you're not doing it anymore.  big sigh!  


Since I started lent these are some of the comments I've heard…

  •     Why don’t you give to charity instead
  •      Why don’t you volunteer
  •      Why don’t you do something more Christian
  •      I gave up Christian practices years ago
  •      Lent has no purpose, look what the church has done in hiding sexual abuse

Normally, I don’t mind people’s suggestions and will take it in stride.  But in this instance they missed the boat entirely.  The purpose for “lent” according to my version anyway is to give up luxuries and indulgences, in effect, it is to make sacrifices.  I do this because it makes me a better person and to contribute to society in a meaningful way.  And you might add, how is staying off facebook accomplish this?  Facebook really is all about snooping into people's lives, right.  Pure indulgence. We check “friend’s status” to read about what they are doing, who they are seeing, or why they broke up with someone, get in on the gossip, etc.  Basically, I am snooping into stuff I have no business knowing about, or would know about anyway if we were such good friends.   Don't you agree?

Since being off facebook a number of friends have emailed me and we have had a “real conversation”!!! 

People who are so vehemently oppose to religion are failing to see that by using this particular tool borrowed from Christianity,I really am standing in integrity to impact the people around me in a positive way.   Ironically, isn’t that all we strive for in this world, peace, love, and acceptance?  
   

2 comments:

DUTA said...

From what you write about Lent, I think I like this traditon of reflection, giving up things, making sacrifices etc..

As for Facebook - Someone once wrote in his blog that he had closed his FB account. The reason for that:" It was awful. I was contacted by people I spent 20 years to avoid". LOL.

Angelina said...

Duta,

Facebook for me because I live so far from family is a life line sometimes, but it also has so much drama, that it could be a turn off. Still, I think, after these 40 days, I will keep it but will visit it less frequently. :)

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