Another Advent Fast began yesterday, and as with the Lenten Fast last spring, I am less than excited. You see, I absolutely suck at fasting. I almost never fast the two days a week (Wednesday and Friday) that I should during the regular times of the year, and these long, six to eight week fasts? I’m horrible.
I know: one of the points of fasting is that you work at it, and you fail, and then you go back and try again, and through all that you learn self-discipline and humility. I get it: it makes sense to me. I just hate the idea that I have to participate in yet another activity that involves me falling flat on my face, getting up, trying again, falling down, getting up, and so on and so forth. That’s what my entire life is about. I’m a good mom, then I suck as a mom, I ask forgiveness and try again, and then some time later I fall back into “bad mom” world, and … well, you get the point. It’s the same with being a wife: snippy and critical, apologetic, sweet and supportive, SNAP, apologetic, patient and normal, mental breakdown, apologies, and back and forth all over again. Work? Lazy, guilty, burst of work, loss of temper, apology, sweet and patient – are you getting the point here, people!?! I don’t just suck at fasting, I suck at most of what I do, and I’m forever trying again, resolving to do better, falling down and crawling back up. I just really can’t take another category of my life in which this pattern repeats itself. I. Just. Can’t.
And so, the next six weeks to Christmas sprawls before me. No meals as a family, because Husband excels at fasting*, as he does at being a litigator and, well, just being Husband. No meals. This kills me. Not only do I have the guilt that comes from being the lazy, loser member of the family, I also go without the only time when we connect together, just the four of us. Not that we sit down together as a family and eat every day – hell no, not with our schedules! But the best thing about weekends is that they bring meals together (especially meals out) – chances for us to sit down and be four again, instead of Tari and the kids and Husband much later on, or the kids together and Tari and Husband some other time. So no four: not until Christmas Day, baby.
Added to all of this is the guilt I feel because I haven’t been to confession in a year, and therefore haven’t been taking communion since August. I’ve been trying to fit it in, but it never happens. Now that it’s the Fast, why bother? I will confess that I haven’t been fasting, and then I will go forth and not fast, and once I do that, how can I take communion with a clean heart knowing I’m not even trying to obey? So no communion, and that’s depressing beyond all other things.
Allow me to be the first to point out (if I don’t Husband will point it out to me as soon as he reads this): I got myself into this. I wanted to convert from Protestantism to Orthodoxy. I did so a year ago with a completely open heart and mind. This was all my idea. So I have no one to blame but myself. But again, I blame myself for so many things, I’m really not up to welcoming yet another to my list. I still believe with all my heart that Orthodoxy is right for me; maybe I’m okay with accepting that I’m just not very good at it**. It’s not like I haven’t done that before – it doesn’t stop me from being a lawyer, a mother or a wife, so why should it stop me from being a Christian?
::cricketschirping:: I don’t know, either.
*I have to say that I am incredibly impressed and proud of Husband's ability to fast and pray regularly. It amazes me. He so much stronger than I am! And he doesn't cycle through life like I do - he's the steady, sane member of the pack.
**That comment will send Husband’s head rolling around the room! How can you accept not being good at something!?! What planet were you raised on? How does this happen??? This is a not-so-infrequent topic of conversation in our house, as you might imagine.