Home Stretch

April 3, 2007

It’s actually been more than forty days since Lent began, and the end of the tunnel is looming. Easter will mark the end of my experiment in self-denial and sanctification, and while I won’t actually be partaking on Easter (yay teetotaling family), the time of my alcohol-free existence will come to a close. Not to say that I’ve been perfect: there was some wine at the wedding in Birmingham, and a beer or two Sunday night when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to find a pint of St. Arnold’s ultra-limited edition Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. But at least all of those drinks came on Sundays.

The Lent experience as a whole has been productive. I have been able to take advantage of the sobriety and put it to work in the interest of noting my own fallen nature, and the blessings that the Gospel has wrought in my life. I think that the chief accomplishment of this season has been a realization of the quality of friends with which I have been blessed. I’m been something of an up and down person to be around in the last twelve months, but there has been a core group of friends who have encouraged and challenged me throughout the good and bad times. When you have a Coke in your hand and you’re sitting back unfazed and looking at these people, you realize what they truly mean to you; these friends mean the world to me, and I truly perish the thought of where I would be without them.

I’ve also wrestled with a couple of particular sin issues in my life. I’ve found that my struggles are shared and sympathetic, and though there’s still as sinful as ever, I don’t feel quite like I’m alone in my fight (which I did a lot last year). I’ve also noticed that some behaviors that I thought were normative among my friends and acquaintances (based on impressions gleaned over the past five years or so) were not quite what I expected, leading to something of a paradigm shift in how I view this issue. I hesitate to elaborate any more, and I know I’m being vague; but you don’t want to hear me talk about sex, now do you?

It’s been amazing to me how easy giving up alcohol became. Over the past two weeks or so, I haven’t really struggled like I did the first seven days of Lent. It became a non-issue. I think that this is important because it teaches me that anything in my life that I love, even good things given by God for my enjoyment, can be denied or removed for a time for the purpose of drawing me closer to God. I’m looking forward to Lent again next year. I think.

I’m off to Omaha tomorrow for work. Woo yay. But Good Friday awaits upon my return. Last year’s Good Friday service at Christ the King was special on multiple levels, and I hope that some of the same beauty and truth will be there this week.

Also, a quick side note to close: check out This Will Destroy You. Like Explosions in the Sky, only they’re smaller and have played with Ethan Durelle.


One comment

  1. After hearing you tell me about it on the way to Birmingham, the last few days, I’ve really been wishing I had done something for lent. Always next year, I guess, but I think it would’ve been really beneficial for me during this time. Anywho. I miss your chunky face.

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