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Assistant Minister's Column

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    I failed on my Lenten practice as soon as I pulled into my driveway on Ash Wednesday. As a compensation for how much plastic I consumed during this year's Mardi Gras, as a way to practice seeing the world differently, and in an attempt to understand how much it has proliferated my life, I gave up purchasing plastic for lent.   

    It's too early to express the total impact it's had on me, but I'm certainly seeing the world differently. The hardest thing so far has been food. I have moved past shock at how many of our foods are contained in plastic and am now just plainly frustrated at how few foods I can buy. Most junk food is out of my diet, but I also can't buy many of my staples like almond milk and cereal. Last weekend I had a craving for spinach and I couldn't even find one bunch not wrapped in a plastic tie.  

    I'm lucky that I have a good stash of soaps and shampoos, but I'm willing to bet that they won't last through all of lent. If that's the case, I may have to learn to make my own (and that's assuming I can get the ingredients).   

    I was lucky enough to spend Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I noticed the newspaper resting on my driveway as I returned Wednesday morning. I had forgotten to call the paper and ask them not to put my paper in a plastic bag. I tried talking to them 3 separate times to get the paper without plastic, but eventually found out they couldn't make it happen.  

    I don't know when you are reading this reflection, but I'm writing it just 10 days into Lent. This practice is irritating. It makes me a little sad, and there are a lot of things that give me comfort I can't have. It's forcing me to look at what is actually important in my life and it's forcing me to deal with imperfection. I can't think of a better Lenten practice than one I failed at literally 2 hours after waking up on Ash Wednesday.