Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, which means that the Sunday after is Easter. That makes me wonder: What happened to Lent?
If you live in the New Orleans area, does it seem like we all lost a week or so of our lives? I heard similar comments from sports guys last week as March Madness, the college basketball playoffs, began. If the colleges are beginning their playoffs, people wondered, what happened to the season?
I think what happened is that we of the Gulf Coast region were lifted into a magical la-la land that started with the Saints in the playoffs and lasted through Mardi Gras with the crescendo being reached on the evening of Super Bowl Sunday but including the victory parade that following Tuesday. Emotionally and psychically, we were in a magical place where we have never been before, and we still haven’t fully come down from it. Everything else has had trouble competing for attention. (Did someone say the city elected a new mayor?) By Ash Wednesday we were still having champagne thoughts; penance was having to stand in line to buy Saints T-shirts. We are an exhausted people –– but in a good way. Never had we needed more the contemplative quietness and sacrifice that Lent suggests; never has our attention been drawn so far away from it.
So, with less than two weeks to go before Easter, someone asked me what I gave up for Lent, and I was embarrassed to say that I never got around to deciding on anything. Even without the religious significance, I think it is good for people living in a land of plenty to exercise some discipline at doing something. (I did decide about a week after the Super Bowl not to utter that phrase that begins with “Who” again, but that had more to do with sanity than sacrifice.) So although I have gotten off to a bad start, remember the Saints were down 10-0 in Miami. I hope to rally in the last two weeks by putting my Lenten pledge into writing: For the next two weeks I promise to do the equivalent of walking at least a mile, maybe more, every day. It might be on the treadmill or walking outside or on one of those fancy elliptical machines, but I will travel at least 14 miles on foot between now and the Easter sunset.
I know there are some people to whom a mile is a mere trot, and I intend to become one of those people. It is not a question of the endurance but of finding the time to do it. That’s the hard part. But if there is anything that life in a magical la-la land has shown us, it’s that if you believe, sometimes anything is possible.
Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival – Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via e- mail at email@example.com or (504) 895-2266.
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