"...and unto dust you shall return."
I realise that bizarre timing appears to have made this Rooster year a "widow" year. The same bizarreness is also messing with my own perception of time as pancake day seems to be occurring way too early. Living in the mid-west no longer offers the opportunity to associate the start of the lenten season with the beginning of spring (I know there's another couple of months of yucky weather to go) but this year is just conspiring to keep things extra-gloomy (more shriveling than shriving going on). For as long as I can remember I have given up sweets (U.S. = "candy") and biscuits (U.S. = "cookies"). When I was young I had a sweet tooth and this really hurt. After that it didn't bother me so I had to add some other activities. At this point it is just the surrendering of control that hurts. I have been pondering why this should be and am wondering if it is due to the death of illusion. In the past I could tolerate temporary discomfort for expectations of better things. While I am certainly no nihilist and still enjoy striving for something better I am no longer expecting any sudden change. This is a good thing. It harkens back to my previous reminder that this is not a practice run. I can't just sit around and wait for something wonderful to happen (although I can certainly hope for it). The illusion of the guaranteed "and they all lived happily ever after" is just a recipe for complacency. Any passivity should be actively chosen rather than being a lazy default. That's why the wording of the admonition involves "...those who help themselves.".