Ashes to ashes

My planner told me Ash Wednesday occurs twice this year…but of course that’s just a misprint. I had to double check when Ash Wednesday really was so I won’t forget to hear mass on that day. And yes, it was yesterday, a month exactly before my birthday.

It’s been crazy the past two weeks — work and extra curricular ate up all my time and I had to sacrifice work out days and sleep just to finish everything that I need to do. I even did some work at home and on a weekend just to get rid of some backlog. I know it’s really bad when I can’t even enjoy doing the things I do because I keep on thinking of the things I still have to do. Like I can’t enjoy dancing because work is on the way, or my mind keeps on wandering off during mass because I have to work. Sigh.

I know that one thing has been missing in my life a bit, and it’s praying. I’m trying I don’t think I am even trying too hard to get my prayer time back. I used to knock on God’s door everyday, now I don’t think I can do that, much less ring His doorbell. It’s been annoying, especially since I know I should do it, but every morning, I don’t pray. I don’t take the time off on my own to talk to God. I don’t even open my Bible now, and it’s getting dusty on my shelf.

That’s why yesterday’s celebration of Ash Wednesday felt a bit foreign. Like it was some kind of thing that I used to do but don’t anymore. I still believe in it, I believe in God, and I know He’s listening, but I felt like I was far, far away, so out of reach.

I want this Lent to be different. I want this to mean something.

Dear Father, please help me get to You this season. Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see You.

I was thinking of what my Lenten sacrifice is for this year, since I didn’t really do anything last year (and no, no boys this year). There’s the computer and Internet fast on Holy Week, and abstaining from meat from Fridays, but for the other days, what do I give up? I was thinking of giving up chocolate (as with the other Catholics all over the world do, I heard), but ever since I followed my diet, I hardly eat a lot of chocolates anyway. It hit me last night what I will fast from this Lent:

BOOKSTORES. And buying books.

It’s no secret that I love books, and I can’t possibly stop reading (besides, that’s just wrong). I love going to book stores too and just wandering around, and maybe buying something before I go out. I kind of spend a bit too much on books that I don’t even have that much time to read, and my TBR list is just growing and growing…and well, buying books can be like a drug to me sometimes (or…maybe not. That is kind of extreme).

But it’s something I really like doing, and sacrifice isn’t sacrifice if it’s not self-denial. So…this lent, I’m sacrificing my book store visits and book buys. I did a  book ban for more than five months before, I can do this again. It stops me from doing impulse buys, too. And while I’m at it, I can use the time I save to do more meaningful things, like pray, and pray for the people who have no access to book stores and proper education. And maybe, at the end of Lent, I can finally get to give the books I don’t read to a charity or a library, and maybe even sponsor another kid so they can study.

I hope that by posting here, it keeps me accountable, and would help me find God and make this Lent more meaningful, and hopefully jump start my prayer life again.

Jesus, please help me get to You this season. Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see You.