Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Jessie: Laisser Les Bon Temps Rouler

From Jessie Dye, Earth Ministry Program & Outreach Director:

It is Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I’m eating steak, ice cream, whole milk in my café au lait, roiling in cow grease. I’m fat today, but I’m terrified about tomorrow.

At Mass on the first day of Lent, the priest will place a cross of ashes on my forehead and say “remember man that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return”. The black plague is around the corner, and we are toast. No matter how thin, beautiful, rich or powerful I am, tomorrow comes the smiling mortician. Pandemic is waiting in the wings for me and the babies regardless how many plush toys they own. All of human mortality presses in on me.

This is no longer the theology of Lent, but I’m there anyway. My genetic memory of the potato famine is too close to the surface.

Ah, but this is Mardi Gras, and I can overindulge. I can let the good times roll, eat all I want, and torture those cows I’m giving up tomorrow. I can, for the moment, forget about self-discipline, the environment, and the common good. I can eat anything I want. Tomorrow, we all fast.

Actually, I’m not against excess, within limits. Mardi Gras is one of those times when limited excess is a good thing. Today Kaitlin is taking 45 minute hot showers, LeeAnne is up till midnight crossing items off her to do list, Deanna is driving everywhere and Beth is eating omelets and Chilean mangoes. Me, I’m overindulging in cow products and had a T-bone for dinner.

Scared as I am to actually keep up the fast for 40 days (and as public about it as I have ever been) I know that putting boundaries on my own gluttony is a personal gift to myself, a sign of inner adulthood, and truthfully not a deprivation at all. I realize that I will feel better, my arteries will be happier and all the worlds’ atmosphere will have less methane because I fast from cows. I will be closer to the Source, more clear about the spiritual journey.

But today the inner 4 year-old runs the show and I eat ice cream till the mint chips run green and the sun rises on Ash Wednesday.

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