The Longest Lent

  
0:00
-44:02

How do we approach this new season of Lent when it …still feels like Lent? We’ve globally experienced the longest Lent of our collective lives, and yet here we are, with Ash Wednesday once again in just a few days. Seth and Tsh talk about their own personal experiences, plus ways recognizing Lent 2021 can STILL be good and necessary for all of us.

Seth: Welcome to A Drink with a Friend, I’m Seth Haines. 

Tsh: And I’m Tsh Oxenreider. 

Seth: We began Lent 2020 with great hope. We received the ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday and then we decided to go every Friday to the Parish Meal where there was some sort of a fish dinner. On the second Friday night, we had fish tacos with a lovely older couple from the parish and we talked about the disease that seemed to be stretching across the country and that very next week, we would get word from the diocese that all the parishes would shut down. This was really sad for us because this was the year that Amber and I were supposed to be entering into the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday. As the weeks gave way, as they passed from week to week of Lent, we got word that the Easter Sunday service was canceled and we wouldn’t be coming into the church. With that, our Lent extended. Two weeks. Three weeks. Four weeks. It would eventually resolve. We would eventually be accepted into the Catholic Church maybe four weeks after Easter. But that season of staying home, of being quarantined, of being locked out of church, both metaphorically and literally, was a real pain. As it continued and continued, even when we went back to church, now with masks, with social distancing regulations, it seemed like it was the Lent that never ended. That’s where we’ve been sitting for the last year is, what do you do with Lent when you’re in a season of never-ending Lent? 

Seth: Tsh, what are you drinking today?

Tsh: It is a recurring theme on the show and will be and people are going to get sick of hearing about it but it is the HEB brand sparkling water, what our friend Haley Stewart was drinking last time, what I’ve been drinking before. It’s grapefruit. We are cult-like in Texas about HEB so I’m a diehard fan because it’s so cheap and it’s good. 

Seth: You’re kind of cult-ish about a lot of things down there in Texas aren’t you? 

Tsh: We are, and most things are really stupid but the grocery store love for HEB is actually not stupid. I hear it as I say it out loud that it sounds really stupid but HEB is actually good and they do cool things and we all have our favorite particular neighborhood stores that we talk about. 

Seth: The thing that you guys are really cult-y about there in Texas—trucks! Have you noticed how certain truck manufacturers make lone star versions or Texas versions of the truck? There are Texas versions of all sorts of things so I kind of don’t notice but yeah, we see trucks all over the place, and big ones! Tate, since she’s in driver’s ed and notices all the driving things now, she points out that red trucks in Texas are obnoxious, the most obnoxious. Followed by white trucks, followed by black trucks. She can tell.

Seth: There’s a hierarchy. 

Tsh: Yeah, and I don’t know what that says psychologically about what kind of drivers they attract, but there you go. It’s really ridiculous here. Very ridiculous. What are you drinking?

Seth: I am drinking Bubly, B-U-B-L-Y. I’m drinking the raspberry Bubly which is growing to be my favorite flavor. If I’m going to drink a sparkling water, there’s something about raspberry that I really like. Although, have you had the strawberry Waterloo? 

Tsh: Yes, oh, not the strawberry but I’ve had Waterloo, though.

Seth: The strawberry Waterloo may be my favorite of all flavors. Maybe you should get some of those for the next episode?

Tsh: I will. This is what happens when you’re 43, you talk about favorite flavors of water. 

Seth: Just wait, when we’re 63 we’ll be doing podcasts on like the Bluebird Cafe’s senior special or something. 

Tsh: Right, and eating lunch at 4:00. Seth, what are we talking about today?

Seth: We’re talking about the liturgical calendar again in a sense, a season of it, a movement of it. We’re going to talk a little bit about Ash Wednesday and maybe the entire season of Lent. At least that’s what I want to talk about. I know that not everybody that listens to this podcast is going to celebrate Ash Wednesday or Lent, but I would like to hear from you because I view you as an adherent to the liturgical calendar, what is Lent? What does it mean to you? What does it do for you?

Tsh: I didn’t grow up liturgical, as you know. To me, I never knew what that word meant. I just associated it with Catholics in high school and that they would suddenly show up one day with smudges on their forehead and I never knew what that meant. Talk about cult, right? It seemed really weird and so to me, it felt like an extra thing. Okay, for people who want to make their lives harder, that’s great for them, not for me. I guess I didn’t really connect with the idea of Lent and then as a by-product, Ash Wednesday, until maybe five, six years ago. Nobody says Lent is their favorite but Lent has maybe the most meaningful thing for me in my faith journey in the past five, six years, when it comes to the liturgical calendar. Advent and Christmas are, you hate to say it, but they’re fun or at least the anticipation of Christmas makes Advent fun but there’s less culturally to anticipate with Easter and Lent is really long and it’s all about giving something up. It’s a hard sell. It starts by a holiday where they put dirt on you and they tell you you’re going die. 

Seth: [laugh] Really uplifting. 

Tsh: It feels like a downer and then it just keeps going down. 

Seth: And that’s the reminder that we all need in 2020-2021, is that here’s some dirt, you’re going to die. 

Tsh: [laugh] Exactly. I don’t know about you but I’ve been seeing all over social media, even in my newsletter subscriber chat area today, a lot of people are just talking about not feeling super jazzed about the idea of starting Lent which is next week when it already feels like we’re still in Lent. It feels like we’ve been in this really long, with no end in sight Lent since mid-March last year. It’s hard to get psyched up about the thought of giving up something when we already feel like we’re already giving so much up already. That’s why I think it’s actually really good to talk about right now because it’s still worth doing, or so says the church. It’s still on the schedule. 

Seth: Explain to me, I agree with you and I think that we need to circle back to that idea of how do you Lent when everything feels like Lent? But before we get to that, explain what Lent is to you. You’ve talked about giving stuff up and you’ve talked about the dust and the dirt and the death. Dust to dirt and death. See, Baptist roots are coming out there with the alliteration. Explain what is Lent and why Lent. What do you get out of it? 

Tsh: Lent is the idea of fasting. The word Lent, actually, is just where we get spring, the Latin word. Those of us in the northern hemisphere, it coincides quite well with our season of spring and so there is this connection between death to life when it comes to Lent. At forty days long, it starts when it’s still cold, usually, depending on where you are and then ends at Easter when it’s usually considerably warmer. It’s a lot of partnering your body and your actual real life with the forty days traditionally that’s in the New Testament recorded of Jesus fasting in the desert. It’s joining our heart, mind, body, soul with him, walking through a season of fasting. For me personally, what it’s looked like at first is trying to give something up almost out of proof that I could do it. This is five, six years ago when I first decided I’m going to try to do this Lent thing because I really only thought of it as fasting. Fast forward to today and I’m not at all saying I’m perfect at it, not at all. Really leaning into the history behind it which can be traced to the Nicene Creed, more or less. It’s been around a long time, the 300s. There’s a trifecta involved in Lent and that’s fasting, prayer, and what’s traditionally called almsgiving, actually giving something. To me, fasting, it sounds like I’m really splitting hairs here but instead of fasting from something I like to think of it as fasting in order to something. I purposely choose that which I am most attached to that shouldn’t be and I’m going to set it aside and then add something to my life that replaces that thing. As an example, last year I fasted from sugar and I added starting our garden. To me, there was a good yin-yang to that because it had the idea of growing something good for me, vegetables. Ultimately for me, that’s what it’s looked like. It’s looked like partnering with God and what’s he’s already doing in my life and leaning into the impossibility of it because Lent is not supposed to be this thing you can say, I did it. Meaning I checked the box, I get the gold star in Lent. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be impossible, really. What’s been your experience with it personally? 

Seth: I grew up in Catholic school. I think we’ve talked about that so seeing the kids with the weird smudges on their forehead was not weird to me on Ash Wednesday. In fact, what was weird is that I didn’t do it because I was not Catholic at the time. Everyone would go up and get their ashes and I didn’t do it. I guess I could have done it but I didn’t do it. To me, I was always the outsider there as the non-participant in Lent. As a non-participant in Lent, it was actually fascinating to watch other people walk through the gyration of sugar or chocolate or whatever, we weren’t giving up coffee then because I was in the ninth grade, no one was drinking coffee yet. Giving that one that up and sometimes people had deep faith reasons for doing it but most of the time, that’s what we did. They were Catholics so that’s what they did. We also went to this really small school that didn’t have a cafeteria and on Fridays, they catered in food from McDonald’s. Again, this was before the super-size documentary so I’m dating myself a little bit. The only thing they would cater in from McDonald’s were filet-o-fish. If you were going to eat at school, you had to eat filet-o-fish and french fries which was fascinating now that I’m saying that out loud. My experience of it growing up was very cultural but at least I had some passing familiarity with it. Then probably in my late twenties, early thirties, it seemed like every evangelical, non-denominational church started to, is appropriate the right word? That feels a little off, but started to use Lent in some form or fashion. Not necessarily doing anything else with the liturgical calendar and not really doing anything with Ash Wednesday but saying we’re in a season of Lent and we’re going to take to mourning and maybe fasting but maybe you just talk about the journey through the desert and these sorts of things and death and then you have the big Easter blow out. I think I got more familiar with it over time and started practicing it more and more deeply, but I’ll tell you, I am awful at Lent. I don’t Lent well. There are a lot of reasons for that. Back when I was drinking a lot, I tried to give up both gin and coffee for Lent one year, at the same time. 

Tsh: Wow.

Seth: My assistant came in, this was before I went dry, my assistant came in and she said, she closed the door, it was a Monday morning at 8:00 in the morning, she comes in and she says, “We need to have a talk.” I knew I was in trouble, I just didn’t know what I had done. She said, “You can give up coffee or you can give up gin, but you cannot give up both. You are a nightmare.” So, I just didn’t do either. Years later, what was really fascinating is I decided I was going to give up whiskey for Lent but I didn’t tell anyone. The reason I didn’t tell anyone is because I wasn’t sure I could do it. Three or four days into Lent, I picked the bottle back up. I made up something like I was giving up something else. I am historically a terrible Lent-er. I will tell you, I have given up alcohol now for many, many, many Lents but that’s a whole other story in and of itself. I’m a horrible Lent-er but over the last probably three years, it’s really worked on me in some really interesting ways. One of the ways it works on me is that when I screw up, as I’m prone to do in my Lenten fast, I’m reminded of how frail and weak I am. How soft I am spiritually, particularly when you think about Jesus’ walk in the desert or the early monks or the monks today, how hardcore some of those fasts are and how weak I am. I think it’s just a constant reminder to me now every Lent, I’m not going to do this perfectly, that’s the whole point, my weakness is the point and hopefully, I grow in strength as I walk out my Lent. I think, going back to the idea of the evangelical use of Lent, I wonder, and I wonder if you have thoughts on this, if there is some benefit to celebrating Lent even if you’re not Catholic, even if you’re not Christian. Is there some benefit to drilling in and saying, I’m going to try for these forty days starting on Ash Wednesday, to fast from something or give something up or focus on something important?

Tsh: I personally think anyone can and it would be good for anyone because I think fasting, in general, is a good practice to do when it’s done, I don’t want to say with the right posture or attitude or motivation because none of us really have perfectly down, but at least when it’s done in the right spirit of things. You do miss out on the communal nature of it but not participating though I mean, we’re all doing, as we call it “Vir-uches” at our house, virtual churches. But there’s still something about being a part of the global, universal church that is fantastic and it would be lovely if we were all part of it but I would never want anyone to feel like they couldn’t do it. Maybe that’s even what I had as a hangup for a while, I thought I wasn’t allowed to, almost. I wasn’t invited. That’s absolutely not true. I think anybody can and here’s the reason I think all of us could benefit from Lent and that’s because of its first day, which is Ash Wednesday. The Latin phrase that goes with is memento mori, remember you will die. To me, that is why Lent is good for all of us because we are all going to die. There’s not one of us on earth that will escape that no matter what our faith tradition is so I think anybody could benefit from remembering that and then walking into the next forty days with that on your mind. I think if someone listening is thinking Lent has always seemed a little woo-woo or scary or too Catholic for me that have been Lenten-curious before, that this is a great year to try it. That sounds like the total opposite of probably you would think because we’re already living in the longest Lent. This is the year to try out Lent if you’ve never done it before because what have you got to lose, in a way? Which sounds so pessimistic but really and truly, things are already hard. Why not lean into that and see if you can listen to a still, small voice in your life that might be telling you what’s the point of the hard stuff. That’s when it gets really sucky when there’s no point to it. I can’t imagine going through this long Lent without thinking there’s an end even if the end isn’t maybe literal with a hard date, with a point in mind. I think we could all benefit.

Seth: One of the things that I love about the idea of Lent and memento mori, and one of the things I really love about it in this last year, there’s never been a season in my life where we as a globe have been so confronted by death and so confronted by what is the point, what is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of what we are doing? Whether or not you share my faith, I think it’s good to set aside time to say, I am going to focus on what is the point. And I’m going to ask the question. I’m going to dig. I’m going to find out. I’m going to look. I’m going to search. For forty days, I’m going to set aside the things that I’m attached to, the things that I love, whether it’s alcohol or sugar or whatever, binge-watching Netflix shows, and I’m going to begin to ask some really hard questions about what is the point? Why am I here? What am I doing? What’s beneficial for me and what’s beneficial for my soul? 

Tsh: I think a lot of us can identify with the feeling that we had a little over a year ago now when everyone was told to stay home, we had this collective idea that, okay, I can do this for a few months. For our greater communal good, I will stay at home and I remember even watching comedians or YouTubers or whatever just talk about, gosh, how easy we have it compared to our grandparents in World War II where we were asked to go participate in a global war, we’re being asked to stay home and watch Netflix. Ha ha ha, isn’t that funny? Well, that’s all well and good but fast forward a year later and we are still doing it. What is that Netflix in your life that you are hanging on to desperately just to cope? Perhaps that’s what you need to at square in the face because we’re not guaranteed any particular end to this. I’m betting on the fact that this isn’t all there is forever and ever on earth, but we’re not told when we can leave the house yet. What are we hanging on to?

Seth: I think all estimates that I’m looking at these days are saying hey, be prepared to do this another two years. Even if there’s a miracle breakthrough and everything gets better and we can go back in a year, great. But be prepared that this is the new normal for at least two years. If this is the new normal, if we’re in a perpetual season of Lent for two years, it’s a good time to set aside a season to really begin to ask some hard questions about what is the point, why are we doing this? Why is there this crazy group of Christian followers of Jesus who set aside forty days to contemplate their death? These are great questions to ask leading up to Easter, I think. Listen, you literally wrote the book on Advent. Is that fair? I don’t know if that’s fair, but you did literally write “a” book on Advent. 

Tsh: I was going to say, “the” is playing it a little fast and loose. But yeah, “a” book on that topic. 

Seth: If there’s one thing I like, it is fast and loose. I know you thought a lot about the liturgical calendar and we’re talking about Lent, I don’t anticipate that you’ve written any books on Lent. You haven’t written any books on Lent that I don’t know about, have you?

Tsh: Well, my good sir. I did announce today to the world that I am writing a book on Lent now. I am thick in the midst of research and outlining and writing of thoughts for next Lent. I am writing a book on Lent. 

Seth: I missed that. I am a bad friend because I didn’t check my, was it Twitter? Instagram?

Tsh: It super does not make you a bad friend. In fact, I put on there, this is on Instagram, I just blatantly said, ya’ll, I am crap at Instagram right now. I am. No, you’re a good friend for not hearing about it from Instagram. 

Seth: I like to hear that. I’m unintentionally a good friend. Tell me, or tell the listeners, what are you going to write about? 

Tsh: To me, Lent feels really far away to people, like the average person. You already said it, when we think of the monks who can maybe really hunker down and do this or I’ve got a stack of books that have already been written about Lent so I have no intention of believing that I’m going to write “the” book on Lent, it’s “a” book on Lent, another book on Lent. There all pretty heady, which it has it’s place, it really does. But there’s not accessible Lenten material that’s also meaty and not trying to make it as easy as possible. For me, I think the average person, the you and me out there, want something that is simple, open and go, short, and almost like a friend to hold you up when you’re done and have got to have that piece of chocolate or that drink or that whatever it is—what the hell is the point? I want a book that someone can turn the page and remember this is the point. I’m still in the early stages of working on it but the things that I have been reminded of in writing this is that trifecta I was talking about earlier so I’m going to lean into that in this book to remind us it’s not just about fasting. It’s also about the prayer side which can also feel really distant and ethereal. By that I mean simply listening to God while we do this so that there is a point to it. Then almsgiving, by way of making it not about you. It feels like it’s all about you when you’ve got the caffeine headache at 2:00 pm but when you pair it with something meaningful that actually makes your everyday world just a little bit better then it feels communal, especially in a time like now when we feel separate from our communities. I’m going to lean into that. I’m also leaning into the idea that we forget that the Sundays during Lent are mini-Easters. We talk about Lent being forty days but technically, at least on the western calendar, if you count the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, you can say wait a minute, that’s forty-six days. That’s because the Sundays don’t count. We’re allowed, we’re given, we’re blessed with a reprieve. We can come up for air, we can have that cup of coffee, we can take a deep breath and just pause the hard things because Sundays are celebrations even in the midst of Lent. I think there’s something symbolic of that, that even in these hard Lenten seasons like we're in Covid-tide, that there are little bright spots throughout it. I don’t think any of us, most of us can’t say literally every single day during this quarantine time has been all bad. We can remember the good even in the hard Lenten seasons. Those are the themes. 

Seth: You talk about fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. That’s a super fancy Christian word, almsgiving. It also sounds when I say it that way, it also sounds like I should say it with an English accent, Anglophilia, almsgiving. 

Tsh: Uh huh.

Seth: It sounds like a season also, almsgiving. Are you coming to my house for almsgiving? Can you talk about what would it look like to participate in almsgiving in a modern world? Are you talking about going out in a tunic and handing money to the poor? This sort of thing like in Monty Python sense or is there something else you’re thinking of here?

Tsh: I actually think of the Robin Hood cartoon from Disney because he’s shaking the little cup and saying, “Alms for the poor.” That’s what I think of is that medieval English stuff, so you’re exactly right. 

Seth: So do that.

Tsh: I’m going to say yes and also. It’s easy to write off, oh, giving to the poor. But that’s actually a real thing we can do. It looks like actually giving to the charities we like to support, like Preemptive Love, or Compassion, or fill in the blank with that which is near and dear to your heart. It’s a great time to increase our giving, especially if you compare it with, let’s say you go to the coffee shop on the way to work every day. You get a $5 cup of latte, that’s your thing, and you’re not going to do that for Lent. You take the $5 a day and you give it to something and I really like it when you can connect it with like if you’re giving up some kind of drink like caffeine, maybe you’re giving it to some organization that supports indigenous coffee growers. Some connection like that. There is that, but I also think of almsgiving as something participatory with your hands and if you’ve got kids, what you can get them involved in as well. Almsgiving is really about an outpouring of your time, treasure, and talent. There I am being a non-denominational Baptist again. [inaudible] Yeah, it doesn’t let go. So that we participate in the work God is doing around us. That’s really what is meant by that. It just means giving to others. I mentioned last Lent when we planted our vegetable garden we also gave, you know how those World Vision, Compassion organizations will do buy a chicken for a family. We did a couple of those and that was really great. A few years past we did a thing and I’m trying to remember exactly what we fasted from now, I cannot remember. But there was somebody at our Anglican parish that talked about that I liked, they talked about connecting with a global issue and you could talk about it with your family. We talked a lot about climate change and a lot about environmental issues as a family. Not in a doomsday way but more in what should we care about as Christians. We just started doing ecologically friendly things in our home, just little things. To me, that’s also part of the giving, if that makes sense. It doesn’t have to be super fancy or it doesn’t mean having $10 at the ready any time you’re at an intersection. It can look like a lot of things, really. 

Seth: For instance, if I give up bread for Lent, or I’m giving up grains for Lent and I’ve learned how to bake bread and sourdough bread and regular bread. I am not just any millennial, in fact, I’m not a millennial. But I’ve learned how to do this over the pandemic. I love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do from a craft perspective. If I have given up bread for Lent, then I could continue to bake and for instance, give that loaf to my neighbor who might be sick or give that loaf to the food pantry at my church or my favorite local food pantry. I could engage in almsgiving that way?

Tsh: Yeah. You could even just do it with a literal friend that you just think would be fun that you haven’t seen in a while because of Covid so you’re just going to leave it on their doorstep. I think there’s all sorts of cool ways you can do this. This sounds so western and 21st century but keep it fun when we’re going through Lent especially right now when pandemic. If there’s a way you can tie in remembering the beauty and goodness of that which you have, like friends, and a pantry full of food, then yeah. I say make it enjoyable. When we fast, it doesn’t have to be the dirge of whipping our backs and thinking about what a horrible person we are. We can actually, to me there’s joy in simply remembering how much we have, whatever that looks like. I think it’s a great idea.

Seth: Didn’t Jesus say actually, when you fast, wash your face. Don’t walk around moaning with dirt on your head. Although, we do that one day, but that’s just one day. Wear it on your head it’s just one day. 

Tsh: Did you know that on an aside? That’s what they’re going to do this year for Ash Wednesday?

Seth: Dirt on your head?

Tsh: Yes. The USCCB, that is the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, have said to local parishes, do not do the forehead smudge this year for Covid reasons. They are going to sprinkle ashes on people’s heads. 

Seth: Sprinkle ashes? Just hold it over your head and sprinkle it?

Tsh: I guess, so they don’t have to touch a million foreheads. It sounds, I told that to Reed and his first thought was, uggalllugggal. Stuff all over my head? 

Seth: Do we have to wear a sackcloth?

Tsh: I know, right. Exactly. That’s what I thought of. You’re exactly right. Jesus talked about, just go about your day. Especially if we’re Americans or Westerners, giving up coffee or Netflix or Twitter, in the big scheme of human history I think we’ll be okay. We’re showing honor to those around us who have gone before us who are in other parts of the world that have it much harder to act like we’ll be fine. I’m not saying it’s always going to be easy and buck up, I’m just saying, hard is the point of Lent. Just remember that.

Seth: Yeah.

Tsh: I’m curious, Seth. As we wrap this up, we talk a lot about beauty on this show and how beauty is the point of why we do anything, really, or at least beauty will save the world as Dostoevsky said. I’m curious if you have thoughts about what’s beautiful about saying no to stuff. In your experience of saying no to hard things, what’s beautiful about that?

Seth: As you know, my story for a long time, I would over drink. And over drink, and over drink, and over drink. It was the thing that I did because I had a lot of feelings about my life. There was a lot of stress. There was a lot of pressure. There was a lot of family stress with a family illness. I was in my thirties and trying to manage a practice, a law practice at the time. When I finally put down the bottle and stopped drinking and said no, it was like a whole new world opened. I realize that this is a little bit different because the ways of being dependent on alcohol and dependent on something like shopping or chocolate may be different neurologically as far as the fog that you exist in, but as I said no to alcohol, with every additional day it was like my head cleared just a little bit more. As I cleared that attachment out, everything got to be a little more clear. I got to be more clear-headed. I could do things on the guitar that I hadn’t been able to do in years, I’m a guitar player. I was writing in ways I hadn’t written in years. It was like everything cleared. I think by saying no to something, for me, it actually freed up space. It wasn’t just time. It’s one thing to say no to something so that you can engage in something beautiful. I’m not going to watch Netflix and that frees up time for me to somehow create art or do something that is beauty. For me and I think several people, many people who have dependency issues or addiction issues, saying no actually frees up mental space to engage beauty in ways that maybe you haven’t in a really long time. As I go into Lent, I’m always conscious of when I say no to something is it something that frees up mental space or time or any sort of space for me to engage in something that is better, that’s more beautiful? Maybe that comes as a direct result of my outlook about drinking. 

Tsh: I think that’s very true. To me, that is the point, is remembering that.

Seth: How do you engage beauty when we’re talking about Lent?

Tsh: This sounds like a Sunday school answer, but I am reminded of how ridiculously human I am during Lent because I will screw it up. I won’t do it perfectly. And how not ridiculous Jesus is, meaning how he’s the only one that could ever do Lent perfectly. There is something beautiful about how Lent makes us, me, more human by way of making us more the way we were meant to be. I really like the idea of those who have gone before us who have died and are face to face with God, are actually more human than us, not less human. To me, the point of life is walking closer and closer to that reality of us. There’s something beautiful about Lent almost being a boot camp for that season. It’s a boot camp season of guiding us on that path to be more human. There’s something about reminding me of how human I am in both the frail way and also the good and beautiful way because God made us beautiful and good. I don’t hate Lent the way a lot of other people do. Not like it’s a dare to see how hard I can make life but because I really do sense the goodness of God along the way. Of course, I say this, and maybe this is going to be the hardest Lent ever. It’s a gift to participate in whatever God’s doing in my life in a more visceral, real, upfront, front row way. 

Seth: What I hear you saying, these are the takeaways. The takeaways are that a season of Lent is for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. That anyone can do it even people who don’t share our faith can do it. If you do it, it might actually open you up to examining what really matters. And the beauty of Lent is that it teaches you really just how human you are and that that’s actually a really good thing. 

Tsh: That’s pretty much exactly what we’ve been saying for a half an hour so that is perfect.

Seth: Particularly it’s a good thing if it leads you to connection with God. 

Tsh: Yeah, like all sacramentality, right? It’s supposed to peel back the layer of what’s really there to where we see what’s really there which his the divine. Well said. 

[LISTENER VOICEMAIL]

Hi, Tsh & Seth. This is Lauren from Virginia and I just wanted to share something that I find beautiful in my everyday life. Your last podcast talked about beauty and seeing it in the everyday and it caused me to stop and think and one thing that I find beautiful in my everyday life is my son’s laugh. My five-year-old son is just silly and his laugh is contagious and he just keeps us all seeing the bright and beautiful and silly in everyday life. I tend to be more of a serious person, business, getting things done. I have five kids I homeschool so it’s easy for me to plow through my day without seeing beauty. But his laugh causes me to stop. It does catch my breath like you mentioned in the podcast and it is beautiful and raw and human and I just love it. It brings beauty into my day. Thanks for letting me share. 

Tsh: Seth, we also talk about what we’re reading, watching, and listening to, what are you reading, watching, or listening to?

Seth: I am coming out of left field. I’m actually going to do that thing where I’m reading that thing that no one else can read, hahahaha. But I am. I am reading a doctoral dissertation by a friend who is writing about the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius and it’s his doctoral work for a very reformed Protestant seminary. He’s bringing these two veins together and discussing why perhaps those in the Protestant vein shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and maybe what St Ignatius has to teach us today. I’m telling you, I’m about half-way finished and it is utterly brilliant and a pleasure to read. 

Tsh: That sounds fantastic.

Seth: It is fantastic. 

Tsh: Is it going to be published for the rest of us? 

Seth: I don’t know. I really hope it will be one day. I know there’s some things that he wants to work on. If it ever is, then I will talk about it here on A Drink with a Friend. See how I just worked that in like that was a commercial?

Tsh: Well done.

Seth: Thanks. You tell me, what are you listening to, watching, reading, or painting? Maybe you’re not painting anything.

Tsh: No, I’m not painting anything. I don’t know if I’ve said this before but if I haven’t I will more than right now. I have this weird thing where I feel like music has seasons. 

Seth: Yes.

Tsh: Okay. There are certain bands or albums or songs that just sound like winter or sound like fall.

Seth: Yes.

Tsh: I totally feel that way. Well, we’ve had unseasonably spring weather this past weekend. Today’s high is 72. 

Seth: Oh my gosh.

Tsh: I know. We’re going to get another cold front this next weekend so for us, that looks like the mid-fifties. I’m feeling this, open the doors, turn off the heater, work in the garden while I can. I’m listening to spring-ish music for me right now. This is someone that I discovered during 2020. Her name is Alanna Boudreau. Have you heard of her before?

Seth: Oh yeah. 

Tsh: Really? Okay. I have not talked to anyone else who has heard of her. That’s cool. She’s fantastic. I think Spotify, with its algorithms, showed me her. She has an album from 2018 called Goodbye Stranger. It is so good. To me, it’s a cross between Regina Spector and Carly Bruney and Tori Amos and Norah Jones. To me, that just sounds like spring. I’m listening to her while I’ve got the spring weather. 

Seth: That’s awesome. Now I’m going to go listen to it. 

Tsh: There you go. It’s a really great album.

It is time to wrap it up. Thank you, Seth, for being here. We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a short voicemail at 401-684-GOOD sharing one thing that’s pointing you to more beauty, goodness, or truth these days — you can also find a link for this, as well as episode show notes and transcripts, at adrinkwithafriend.com. Also — you can always support our individual work via our newsletters, but if you’d like to support this show, you can do so at buymeacoffee.com/drinks — this is where you can pick up the next round of drinks for just a few bucks, which helps keep the lights on around here (the link is also in the show notes).

You can find me at tshoxenreider.com where there’s a link to all my socials and my newsletter. Seth, where can people find you?

Seth: They can find me at sethhaines.com or if you want to make it really simple, go to sethhaines.substack.com because that’s where I do most of my writing these days. You can also find me on Twitter or Instagram or anywhere an @ sign is used @sethhaines. 

Tsh: Music for the show is by Kevin MacLeod, editing is by Kyle Oxenreider, and Caroline TeSelle is our transcriber and assistant extraordinaire. I’m Tsh, and Seth and I will be back here with you soon. Thanks for listening.