Mardi Gras and Happy Tuesdays

I used to live in New Orleans where the celebration of Mardi Gras is as huge as one of those oversized floats wobbling down St. Charles Avenue skimming the canopy of oak trees as krewes throw plastic beads at enthusiastic revelers.  Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is when Christians are encouraged to reflect on repentance before the solemn season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  I never had the impression that the people smushed together on Bourbon Street reflected anything other than how alcohol really, really lowers inhibitions. Still, I love a parade and feeling like Mr. T from the 1980s television series, The A-Team with 40 pounds of shine dangling from my neck.

Shrove Tuesday is like New Year’s Eve in the secular world.  You celebrate, indulge, imbibe.  The next day you wake up pop some aspirin, chug water, and begin your resolutions.  Lent isn’t as much about resolutions as it is a time to make restitution for ways we have failed God.  Maybe that sounds like a buzz kill compared to the revelry of Mardi Gras or even the zeal of New Year’s resolutions, but I love the sobriety of Ash Wednesday.  I love going to mass and seeing the community of believers line up to face mortality with the meekness of remorse and hope that is mercy.  It’s not just lining up for ashes, it’s realigning ourselves with God.  It’s committing to taking off the weight of sin, to stripping away anything that separates us from our Savior and preparing ourselves for the joy that resurrection brings.

However you do Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or just another Tuesday, it’s a happy day for me.  I won’t binge or bedeck myself in beads.  I don’t have any parades to go to and I mostly prefer peanut butter to partying.  Still, I love the joy of a day where I am reminded of the swirl of revelry and the sweetness of life.  More than anything, I love the quiet reflection of the day that follows.  The way it seems somber but reminds me that death and dust, and losing the plastic shine of life, gives me a chance at eternal life.   The glory that reveals itself in the resurrection only comes through death.  In that way, I welcome it – death to sin, attachments, and distractions.  For forty days leading up to Easter, I won’t be lamenting what I am losing, what I am giving up, or what I can’t do. I will be looking forward to what I may gain – the rejoicing that will come from redemption.  That’s certainly something to celebrate and it won’t even cause a hangover. 

That’s me with my babies at Mardi Gras circa a long time ago.  You can’t see my other baby because he is in my womb under my beads.  I keep this picture in my laundry room which seems unsentimental but I spend a lot of time in there so it’s really not.  Let me know how you plan to celebrate today even if it’s just by calling a friend or going on a walk.  Life’s too sweet to not celebrate Tuesdays. 

Miss last week’s post? 

 

5 thoughts on “Mardi Gras and Happy Tuesdays

  • March 6, 2019 at 7:39 pm
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    Thank you… Like you all, I’m trying to focus on what distracts me, so I’m giving up Facebook. It’s been too easy to get lost in it, which is distracting from God’s plan for me. As a family, we are going to try to focus on kindness.
    Thank you for the reminder of how this quiet and dinner time of reflection is so beautiful….

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  • March 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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    I really haven’t thought about lent until reading this post. I really need to think about it tonight to come up with something good instead of quitting chocolate like I have in the past. I have gotten so busy that I only occasionally pray. Maybe my lent will be to try to pray every day even if it is for a minute or two every day.

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    • March 6, 2019 at 5:07 pm
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      I think that would be a great one Alexa. I am going to focus more on prayer too. Chocolate would be so hard for me to give up. Still debating that!

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  • March 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm
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    I wish I could say I’m up to something “sexy” this Tuesday but I’ll just be hanging with my CRHP sisters in Kohl’s Hall, lol! I may go out for a quick drink with a friend after Ash Wednesday Mass if that’s not against the rules. (I’m not giving up alcohol).

    On a similar note, I like the point about making restitution for the ways we have failed God, thus realigning our lives with His. This makes me feel like I need to give up the things I cling to that distract me from going deeper with God: Online shopping and excessive iPhone use. What is everyone else giving up?

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    • March 5, 2019 at 4:14 pm
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      No rules that I know of! I love your CRHP group so I think that’s a perfect way to spend any Tuesday (and in your case almost every Tuesday 🙂
      I like to think of the restitution too because boy do I owe! He has blessed me with so much and I feel like I return so little. I think you are right about focusing on what distracts us – that is probably the number one thing that keeps so many of us from God. We want too but we have so many things competing that we need to kick to the curb. I am not sure if I am giving anything up. I am still thinking about what would be the most beneficial to my relationship with God but I am going to add 10 minutes of prayerful meditation to each day. I should probably give up shopping too but that’s just a general thing!

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