I danced around the kitchen to an appropriate song — “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” — while making pancakes next to my husband. His charges included the bacon and the potatoes, but I controlled the middle griddle and the pancakes. I danced and flipped, danced and flipped. I peeled some Cuties; I danced and flipped.
Then the phone rang, my dad asking me what I was doing. So I told him: dancing, flipping pancakes. “It’s Shrove Tuesday, after all!”
I went on to explain. Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Day! FAT TUESDAY! Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday. All of the things.
Then he asked me a question. “So what’s a shrove? Is it a pancake?”
I stopped dancing. I shrugged, which he totally didn’t hear through the phone. I realized I didn’t know the answer.
For years and years, I’ve known of and observed Ash Wednesday. I’ve also always participated — with great delight — in the eating of Paczki on Fat Tuesday, and a number of times, made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I’ve never participated in any Mardi Gras events. I’ve always understood the events of today to revolve around food, gearing up for the Lenten season. The using up of all the delectable ingredients to make amazing stuffed Polish donuts. I’m all about eating all the food.
Apparently “shrove” comes from “shrive,” meaning to confess. From Wiki: Christians “make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with.”
Well, I’ll be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these topics, as they pertain not only to my family but to myself. I’ve been working on journaling through some of my bigger faith thoughts, mainly revolving around the larger concept of forgiveness and why I can’t seem to offer and accept it on that personal level. I’m pretty hard on myself, in case you missed it. I feel like I could use a lot of growth in that area, whether specifically over this dawning Lenten season or just in general. It feels big and scary though, as most things regarding self-examination and faith and questioning and doubt and fear and belief and love tend to be.
And so, tonight I sit on my couch wrapped up in my blanket, my belly full of pancakes, thinking about what I would like to focus on for the next 40 days. Tomorrow morning I will make final decisions as to whether I will give up something for Lent. Tomorrow night we will attend Ash Wednesday services again. And for 40 days, I’ll walk through the valley of Lent.