16 February 2010

Shrove (Pancake?) Tuesday

It was probably in college when I first really recognized that there was something special about the Tuesday before lent begins. (The relation of Mardi Gras to Lent was still outside of my normal experience - and Carnival meant nothing to me until I moved to the Netherlands.) The idea was that since Lent included giving up sugar and fats and all those bad things, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday was ideal for using up all those things - and since these things made great ingredients for pancakes, Shrove Tuesday became known to me as Pancake Tuesday. I don't think of Shrove Tuesday that way anymore, though. I'm pretty sure that's related to living in a monastic community.

This is how my Shrove Tuesday went:
- I had a normal day working on my thesis (which means I did some research when I got up, went to chapel this morning, talked to some people around coffee, cleaned up some, searched for a plant for the chapel, biked to the University, sat behind the computer for awhile, talked to my office mate, chatted with a friend, and tried to puzzle some things out);
- I had coffee with a friend.
- I picked up bread (on a bike, carrying two garbage bags full (no significant challenge anymore)).
- I ate spare ribs (not pancakes) for supper (the tradition here - celebrating the last chance to eat meat for awhile). And there was also brownies and whipped cream for dessert;
- I spent half an hour rinsing off the dishes. (There were 40 of us eating together and a significant number of pots and pans). On the bright side, it lets me get rid of excess energy, and I always feel like I accomplished something after that many dishes.
- I went to evening chapel, where we celebrated the Lord's Supper.
- I prepared the chapel for Lent.
- I listened to a guest speak about our Cause that we are supporting extra during Lent. (This also included the opportunity to eat a sort of donut that had was filled with this whipped cream stuff and lots of sugar and fat).
- I helped burn palm branches so that we'd have ashes for the service tomorrow.

Quite a number of times today I remembered (with joy) that life is never ever dull within a community. As much as it felt like today was busy with a lot of different tasks, it was also a delight to get to be share this feast day with others - and to share in the preparation for the time leading up to the next feast (Easter).

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