Baptists don't do Ash Wednesday.
Baptists don't do Lent.
We're no longer Baptist.
The Methodist church that we are attending does have Ash Wednesday service and does observe Lent. K- and I had a discussion on the way home today about Ash Wednesday. She was concerned about the "ashing." (I'm certain that isn't the appropriate thing to call it, so pardon if I inadvertently offended. I've never been ashed before.) She asked if it would hurt and I told her no. "But what if I don't want it?" "If children are to get it, you are to go and get it. We're observing and learning as a family." "What is it like? Will it be hot?" "No, it isn't hot ash coals. They are cold and the best that I can think to tell you is that like pencil that rubs off on your hand as you write, it will just look like that on your forehead." "OH!" That explanation seemed to satisfy.
I talked with K- about giving things up for Lent. I told her that I couldn't see her make it through giving up sweets. Frankly, as horrible as a parent I am, I don't know that I could have her give it up. She eats one piece a day, but she would be absolutely Hester-Pester about it and my nerves couldn't take it. I think that it is partially my job as a parent to encourage her to give something up that will be sacrificial, but not something that may cause her to be tied to the no parking sign out on the tree lawn.
She has since considered giving up her favorite "flower pillow" for Lent. This is the pillow that she has slept with since she was 1 1/2 - 2. She comes to snuggle in on a rare nightmare evening and her flower pillow -- flump-- enters into the bed with her. I could see how this could be a true sacrifice for her.
I suggested giving up Saturday OR Sunday morning cartoons and she didn't bite. She gets very limited TV and that was just not a way she could go.
It's her first Lent. Rome wasn't built in a day.
We both discussed Janeen's Lenten sacrifice of yelling. We both agreed that is something wonderful to give up. Frankly, we think it brings no pleasure to anyone and certainly isn't something that the Lord finds favorable.
As for me, I think I've settled in on no snacking after dinner. This will be hard, as I've come to snacking at night when Hubs and I hang together and watch a few favorite programs. I have been working on eating healthier, so this is certainly a nice discipline to build in.
I don't know if Hubs will choose to give something up for Lent. That's a choice that he has to make. In the meantime, I'm preparing for my first Ash Wednesday service. I e-mailed the pastor to be certain that we are fine to attend and she stated yes. I think that I can at least speak for K- and me when I say that we're both excited and nervous. Something new isn't necessarily a bad thing. New experiences. A little ash won't kill us. Hopefully, the experience of Ash Wednesday and Lent as a whole helps us to center our lives a bit more towards the Lord, as opposed to centered on ourselves.