Lent Prepares Us for Disappointment
In a digital age virtual reality seems more convenient than actuality. Whims can be satisfied on the spot. You can pay extra for same-day delivery. If the name of an actor is on the tip of your tongue, Google can help your memory. When you want out-of-season vegetables you just need to find the right supermarket. In practice, these are perks of twenty-first-century living (in the First World) that we are reluctant to give up. The incremental danger, however, is a creeping distance from the world where disappointment and loss are inevitable. We feel our human rights have been abused when it is merely our consumer desires that have been denied. Contentment becomes a superficial feeling that keeps us permanently vulnerable, disassociated and self-centered. Jesus defended his disciples for not fasting while he was with them. He must have been a joyful and exhilarating person to be with. But he warned them of an impending separation and to be prepared for loss. There is a time-cycle for everything in life that even the best-stocked 24-hour convenience store cannot change. Blake said, “Kiss the joy as it flies.” The practices of Lent, resting on the foundation of the meditating day, help us to be both realistic and happy. The two go together in a way that consumerism can never fathom.