I don’t remember a year that Ash Wednesday fell on Feb. 14th which is Valentine’s Day. Not quite sure how to celebrate/observe those two very different occasions this coming week.
Usually on Ash Wednesday, I try to fast and abstain from meat…and to begin a spiritual practice that I will follow for the next Forty Days of Lent. This year I decided to practice a friend’s tradition of filling up 40 bags of things that I want to discard, pass along or donate to charity. This will take some discipline as every day I will start out with a different area of my house that I want to de-clutter. Hopefully, by the time Holy Week and Easter roll around, I will have made good on this promise to myself to do this.
For the last few years on Valentine’s Day, Ted has made a lovely lobster dinner complete with a champagne toast and perhaps even a chocolate treat for dessert. That tradition seems a little decadent for Ash Wednesda, but at least it would be a “meatless meal.” We often watch a romantic movie or perhaps play some favorite cd’s full of love songs. That seems quite the opposite of going to church for the imposition of ashes and pondering our mortality.
Perhaps one way to observe both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day this Wednesday would be to spend the morning and early afternoon focusing on the start of Lent, the penitential season of the church…and then to switch gears around dinnertime to focus on love and romance, the themes of Valentine’s Day. I really don’t think God would mind such a creative way to spend February 14th this year. What do you think?
PS. Just learned that the last time Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday was the year I was born…1945💖