I’ll be Dead By Easter…
It’s the Lenten season again. Not that it was widely celebrated by myself or many of the people around me. But for a great majority of the Christian world today ushered in a period leading up to Easter in which they are to reflect upon God’s goodness, they repent, and try to draw nearer to Him. As is customary, something personal is also usually given up by individuals who celebrate this holy day on the Christian Calendar.
Not for Mormons though. We’re pretty laid back Christians. Sure, Easter and Christmas are important. And yeah, of course we eat big dinners on those days and start our mornings off with something neat about Jesus. But in our “calendar” there really aren’t any other “holy days”, unless you count the first weekends in April and October when we celebrate our semiannual General Conferences of the Church. But they’re not high falootin days like Easter and Christmas. No ma’am (or sir for you men readers). Just regular Church conferences. We don’t have a calendar with fancy days leading up to Conference with different rituals to remind us how to prepare. We just wake up on Saturday morning and hope to make it to the Church on time (or get out of our pajamas if we’re watching it at home).
I’ve always admired those faithful Israelites in the Old Testament. Sure, they were always building idols and worshiping Baal (who doesn’t backslide every now and then?), but what I’ve always really admired is their daily practices which they followed to remind them of the LORD (yeah, that’s all caps for the big Jehovah Himself). Now days the Orthodox Jews follow these best. They only walk so far on a Sabbath. They don’t cut their sideburns. They touch the mezzuzah every time they enter or leave their home. Neat little daily things, physical things, that are to remind them of their God. And oh the holy days! No one can throw parties for God like those Jews. You’ve got Rosh Hoshanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot just to name a few. And Hannukah! – I won’t even get into Hannukah; eight days worth of fire lighting and gift giving is my kind of celebreation! – And even many of my fellow Christians have days like today to remind them of God’s awesome sacrifice and mercy in their behalves. But me, I’ve got nothing liturgical, no special day, and no ash to rub on my forhead.
So what’s a good Mormon guy like me supposed to do on days like today?
Well, I’m joining in of course!
Heck, I grew up Lutheran! I have a birthright to join in on the holy days. And there’s no sense in missing out on this Jesus Fanfare while the fanfaring is hot. What fun would the next forty days be if I didn’t join in with my few Catholic friends and give up something of substance in preparation for Easter? I’m not going to go all Opus Dei and whip myself at night or anything, but I do want to give up something in my life that would help me as a person, and most importantly help me grow closer to God.
“So,” you’re probably wondering to yourself, “what’s wacky ol’ Stan going to give up for Lent this year?”
Well, as fokey as it might sound, I’m going to give up procrastination.
Yeah yeah, I know what you’re probably thinking now. “That’s dumb. That’s not even really giving anything up.” And you’re right in a way. I’m not cleansing myself of chocolate, or purging myself from soda (oh Pepsi, how I would miss you!), but trust me, procrastination is a dear friend of mine. We’re old buddies. He’s mine and I’m his. And we’ve been shacking up together for some time now.
All of us are guilty of procrastination. Each day things pop into our minds. Important things. But they’re not pressing on our schedules, they don’t require our immediate attention, and they get pushed to the backburner even if they are important and life changing sometimes. Personally, I’m a failure at heeding most of these small nudges from Subconcious Stan. “Y’know Stan,” Subconcious Stan will say sometimes, “You really need to call Grandpa Way. He’s getting old, and he’d sure love to hear your voice.” And I reply, “You’re right! I’ll do that tonight!” Then alas, I end up trolling Facebook, wasting time on 9Gag, and watching old Frasier episodes until it’s entirely too late to call.
I wish I could say that small phone calls were my only pressing procrastinating issues though. No, no friend. I am much worse. Much, much, much worse.
I also forget or push back doing things that are important, such as paying bills. It would be easier to say that I’m completely broke most of the time and I just don’t have money. At least then I would have an excuse. And although being broke is occasionally the truth, more often than not I’ve just forgotten to pay a bill here or there. Subconcious Stan will holler loudly at the beginning of my lunch hour, “Hey Stan, you need to go pay that loan payment of yours before they start calling you.” A week later, after numerous phone calls on my cell, and even at work, I’ll often keep pushing it back. – Two months ago I carried around a purchased money order for three weeks because I kept putting off driving the mile and a half to pay a bill. A mile and a half. A MILE AND A HALF PEOPLE! FOR THREE WEEKS! And I already had the money order! – I seriously have a problem.
I wish it ended there though. Regretfully, it doesn’t.
Me and the good guy upstairs are rather close. I like God. He’s been pretty awesome to me in my life. And because we’re close and talk on a daily basis He’ll often tell me to do little things. Sometimes they are small, like “Hey Stan, you should read John chapter seven tonight. There’s something good in there for you.” And some times I will do it, and some times I won’t. Every time I listen to that still, small voice though I am greatly blessed. Then there are other times where God is a tad more pressing on me, and that voice will come, “Stan, you need to call so and so and tell them you missed them at Church today.” Once again, some times I will do it, and some times I don’t. And once again, when I do it I am always blessed and taught things I couldn’t imagine as possible. But then there are those tough times where the voice comes while I’m at work in the middle of a stressful week and it says something along these lines, “Stan, you really should go and visit so and so tonight after work and invite them to church this Sunday, and tell them how much God really does love them.” – This is where I fail in epic proportions. – There’s just something about physically having to do something that gets me. Call me fat. Call me lazy. Call me fat and lazy. But there’s just something about getting up and going that sometimes causes me to stop dead in my tracks, to push back those good little voices in my head and reply with a loud and steady, “I can do it tomorrow.”
The problem is, I’m not always going to have tomorrow. And in a few of the circumstances like I’ve just described, the person I was told to visit didn’t have tomorrow. – Those lessons have hurt.
So for Lent I’m giving up procrastination. I already have a list (a Post-It note actually) that’s getting full of things I’ve pushed back for as long as I can. Things that have been holding me back personally, professionally, spiritually, and all around as a Christian and Son of God. I know it’s going to be hard though. It’s not like I’m giving up Facebook. That would be easy! Because with Facebook everyone I know would at least be catching me if I made a slip up and failed at my Lenten sacrifice. Oh look! Stan “Liked” Susy Johnson’s photo. He failed! But this procrastination thing…Wow. This is going to be hard. This list is huge. There’s a lot of things I’ve been putting off. I may be dead by Easter.
The main goal though is to take these few weeks to prepare myself, to cleanse myself, and put myself in the right mindset for the Easter holiday, the time of year when we celebrate our Savior’s resurrection and triumph over everything that is temporal. So here’s to giving up procrastination, stopping putting things off until tomorrow, and gaining a firmer grasp on those temporal tasks which I really need to perform.
I’ll keep you updated.
…unless of course I keep putting it off.
*cue the rimshot*