Friday, March 03, 2006

practice makes imperfect

The RevGal Friday Five is about things we have practiced:

I have been so ambivalent about the word "practice" in my life.

There was practicing the piano with the scary semi-famous Hungarian woman of my childhood. And practicing at home. Somehow I never got to play anything I might want to play. Finger exercises, bleah. I'm glad now that I know how to read music, and pick a tune out on the piano, even with both hands, but years of my perfect pitch mother pointing out errors from the kitchen ("B Flat, Emily") really spoiled the word for me for a long time.

Choir practice, on the other hand, was a regular part of my life. Through high school, college and into graduate schools I had some positive choral experiences. Especially as a member of the Women's Glee Club at U of I. Practice led to good things--choir tours to San Antonio and New Orleans (we once got to sing for the American Choral Directors' Association national convention in San Antonio), parties with the Men's Glee Club, and our fine director, who kept us working and laughing. A dose of humor helps keep practice Spirit-filled, I think now, and redeemed from just tedium.

Regularly going to church--I never thought about this as a spiritual "practice." It was just part of my life, like breathing. I dropped out for a couple of years in college, but I couldn't really imagine my life without the Episcopal Church.

I am a walker by practice, although there have been times when I've fallen out of the habit. Thank you to Cathy for starting the 40 miles in 40 days Lenten discipline and inviting us to share it with her. The key to this habit is preparation--having the clothes and shoes ready to go.

Last Lent was the first time I had given up something in a long time--I gave up buying yarn, and I managed it, too, with one exception, when I bought some yarn at a booksigning for Debbie Stoller (archived somewhere in this blog). I already owned both Stitch 'n Bitch books and wanted to be a good guest at the yarn shop. I knew I had plenty of yarn and projects to keep me occupied! I was using yarn shopping as a crutch, and I knew it.

This Lent I've taken on the practice of giving up chocolate. This isn't a casual practice--I've become so aware of what power chocolate has over me. I'm smart enough not to try to give up all sweets/desserts at this time. I'm really learning the only way to do this is really to say "today I will not eat chocolate." Will I make it to Easter? Stay tuned. (Frankly, will I last until tomorrow?)


At 7:19 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

That's a hard one, Emily. A couple of years ago during Lent, I gave up buying coffee shop espresso drinks, which meant giving up Cafe Mochas. I really, really missed them. And I think I looked for chocolate everywhere else, and started stirring it into coffee I made at home. A downward spiral...
I'm sure you will do better!

At 8:55 PM, Blogger kay_okc said...

Several years ago my doctor found a ridge of unusual tissue in one of my breasts. I was promptly sent to the Breast Center. The surgeon there said we can aspirate it or you can go 30 days no caffeine and we'll recheck. Not liking needles, I chose no caffeine. I drank Dr. Pepper daily back then so that was hard to give up but probably my biggest source of caffeine was from chocolate. I gave it up rather than face a needle. It was sooooo hard. I remember one cheat...it was a hard candy coated chocolate mint. So I know I could do it again....but will I? lol (Btw, the ridge of tissue practically disappeared by the 30 days.)

At 2:57 AM, Blogger see-through faith said...

today I will not eat chocolate. day by day ... bless you as you focus on God. It's scary what hold different things have over our life. chocolate. the comforting glass of wine. the cheesy biscuits etc.

I was intrigued by this

Regularly going to church--I never thought about this as a spiritual "practice." It was just part of my life, like breathing.

because I've just been writing a paper about foreigner Christians in Finland and one thing we find hard /different is that for believing Lutherans going to church is not that important. I found a great article by the L. church of Finland on just this ... yet for me going to church is among the best things I know.

sometimes is it a discipline though. I'd never really thought about it until here in finland.

thanks for making me think - among other things.

be blessed


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