Lent this year was decent, probably better than last year, but nothing Earth-shattering. I gave up something that may have been a little superficial and I finally relented for the first time in my life and used the Sundays to enjoy the thing that I gave up. While in some ways this was good for me (the giving up part, not the Sunday part), it still felt kind of ... flat.
Good Friday, however, was different. Last year I didn't fast on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday because I was growing twins and having restless leg syndrome and all sorts of other issues due to being on bed rest. I needed to stay nourished. This year I was able to fast again. I don't completely recall how Ash Wednesday was, but I think I remember it being difficult. Somehow Good Friday was not. I'm not entirely sure why and I've been contemplating that for a few days now. Still no answers.
I did add something to my fast on Good Friday. I gave up Facebook for the day. This was easier to do than I expected and somewhat difficult. Facebook has become a lifeline for me, for better or worse. More and more I find myself going there to visit with my friends from a Catholic group. We all fasted from the group on Good Friday which was partly why I didn't find giving up Facebook completely on that one day too difficult. But I still like seeing what my other friends post, getting news, and all sorts of other things that pop up on my Facebook feed. Honestly, these days I get more of my news from Facebook than I do from anywhere else. So that part was a little difficult. Maybe, too, this contributed to why giving up food on that day didn't seem as hard as it usually does. It's a theory.
So I had extra time on Good Friday, right? Yes and no. I still have plenty to do with two little ones and work. But I did use the time on that day that I normally would have spent on Facebook catching up on many, many blogs that I hadn't been reading. I also reorganized the blogs in my blog reader and deleted a few that either were no longer active or I wasn't really reading anyway. It felt refreshing to clean those up. It was also so great to catch up on the writings my favorite bloggers had been doing. I love reading smart, witty, and thought-provoking bloggers and I realized just how much I had missed that.
Actually I realized that I missed a lot of things about following all those blogs more regularly. It is not just the intellectual stimulation from the blogs I read (and the fun posts too), it is just the joy of reading someone else's ability to put words together in an inspiring and creative way. I love that! I miss that!! I want to be able to do that!! As fun as Facebook is, most posts there are pretty short one-liners (or so) that express a clever thought or relate a cute/funny/ridiculous happening in someone's life. All fun to read, but not necessarily the kind of reading that is going to be helpful to someone who wants to improve her writing skills.
It's not really a big revelation. Actually it's one of the basics of being a good writer right after "Write what you know": A great writer is a great reader. I don't read enough. That's so weird to say! I used to devour books! I was the kid in school that always had a book with me. I read whole books in a day, spent whatever time I could reading while my mom told me to go play outside with the other kids, and when I wasn't reading I was writing. Somehow, somewhere I got off that track and have never quite found my way back. I still read, but not like I used to. My reading tastes have changed considerably since my younger days, but the desire to read, I believe, has always been there. I just haven't been listening.
This past Friday, while fasting from food and Facebook (how odd does that sound together!), that hunger came back. And along with it, my desire to write more.
Lent overall may have fell flat for me this year, but I feel like God got my attention on Good Friday. And He did it despite the fact that I did not go to Good Friday services as I had planned (oh, yeah, I was sick that day too; forgot to mention that). There will be more writing in my future and most of it will be on this blog and will be more focused (write what you know). Don't worry, updates on the boys, family life, and pictures will still be here, but I want to do something more as well. Stay tuned!
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