So most people know that Lent is about self-discipline. Giving things up and fasting are the most well known disciplines, but there are others like silence and confession. Stuff like this is called “disciplines of abstinence,” for obvious reasons. You’re not doing things, either because you shouldn’t be doing them, or because taking a break from them helps you re-engage with them more healthily.
But that’s only one kind of spiritual discipline. There are also spiritual disciplines of engagement and service. And one of my favorites is celebration. Yes – celebration is a spiritual discipline. Awesome, eh? Celebration is what Easter is all about. Thankfulness, yes, but just plain rejoicing – looking at how blessed we are, and making the most of it.
Last night I got a silly idea that is not so silly; it’s happy-silly, not dumb-silly. Basically, every day from Easter through Pentecost, I want to do at least one thing to engage in the discipline of celebration. I’ll try to record it here on the blog to keep myself accountable – my tendency, I know, will be to “celebrate” by indulgence and consumption. That’s okay (see today’s item below), but celebration is also about people – spending time with them, serving them, being served by them, etc. It’s also about praise – celebration is an upward movement as much as it is outward, because of what we are celebrating. During fall, we will be celebrating the harvest, the culmination of our work with what we were given. But in the spring, we know we didn’t do anything to make the warmth come back, the sun stay longer, and the grass grow. So we celebrate up, even more than out.
That’s my challenge. Wanna join?
Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Easter Sunday: Awesome party with cool people; cast on a new (and extremely shiny) skirt with some novelty yarn that’s been maturing in the stash for a few years now.
Easter Monday: All day Dungeons and Dragons marathon. Said marathon included birthday cupcakes and baby cuddling.
Tuesday in Easter Week: Stayed up late with Roommate A as she finished her thesis. Doesn’t sound celebratory, but I think it was – like attending a birth is. Except, instead of hearing those lovely newborn peals as soon as the ordeal is over, we have to wait to wait for a board of professors to pass judgment on this infant.
Wednesday in Easter Week: Study party at the ‘Bux with Roommate A, Hubsband, and tall salted caramel hot chocolate with skim milk and no whipped cream. I’m a little bit of a yuppie; it’s in my blood.
What else should we do? I need ideas; this season spans the end of the school year, so I’ll be working hard nearly every day, and it will take actual discipline to not just call a handful of Cheez-its my celebration for the day. It’s NaPoWriMo; I’m certainly not going to write a poem for every day, but producing poetry is at least a potentially appropriate way to praise and celebrate. Spring produce is out, and making and sharing food is a very ancient way to celebrate. What do you think?
aside/note bene/post-script: If you haven’t already, you should check out Richard Foster’s classic Celebration of Discipline, which outlines all twelve traditional disciplines and gives practical advice on how to try them out.