Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lent n' stuff

So, for Lent, I gave up hamburgers, and I have stuck to it, completely. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of beef brisket, French Dip, Italian beef, etc. But tonight, earlier, I firmly drew the line at counting Patty Melts as an exception, as if rye bread and grilled onions were an odd form of dispensation.

Why hamburgers? Well, first of all, I’m not Roman Catholic or anything like that, and I really didn’t grow up giving things up for Lent. But on Fat Tuesday, I was very hungry, and so woke up and drove to Burger King for breakfast. Then, twice more, I hit up the drive–thru. I felt kind of sick (even though, well, I’m not a very healthy eater since nobody forces me to buy lettuce these days) and guilty, and then realized it was Fat Tuesday. I’m not a big chicken fan (now, the fried batter—that’s something else entirely), don’t really like Turkey, and pulled pork is hard to come by on a daily basis. As a consequence, I’ve been cutting down on my garbage food and, finally, French fries.

But I’m thinking, maybe I should have given up scare quotes, or participating more than five times in discussions during classes, or falling asleep to TV-on-DVD (or TV-on-DVD entirely), or Freecell, or idle contemplation, or spite, or music, or discretionary spending, or unnecessary speech, or purple Vitamin Water.

The other day, in the spirit of Lenten devotional, reached for the Thomas a Kempis book from back in the day, The Imitation of Christ, I once idealistically bought and out of historical curiosity. It sets up some very ascetic ideals for monastic life such as being overly familiar with one another, or speaking unnecessarily--one that really trips me up. I don’t really read that book much.

As a consequence, I’ve noticed that blogging is good for that: paradoxically, anything I blog is stuff I don’t think my friends would want to talk about. It works in theory, but makes for a pretty dull blog.

Yes, this is a post not about esoteric music, although I have been having a tough time not downloading Golijov's La Pasion segun San Marcos

I guess I don’t really talk about my spiritual life much because it’s personal, because I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member, or discredit any church or set of beliefs by my association with it, etc. etc. But perhaps a spiritual theme lately in my thought-and-prayer life lately is to allow myself to be troubled by troubling ideas, to not grapple so much, to let difficult ideas be difficult ideas and to appreciate mysteries--whether they come in the form of people, ideologies, or events. That actually has real consequences for how one experiences music, reads books, and interacts with people--even if I am not about to avoid "idle talk" anytime soon. After all, what, then, would I talk about?!

And I'm not going to lie: Lent is the most lucrative trumpet season of the year. So, that's nice.

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