I like tradition.
I like the fact at certain times of year there are rituals that remind us of our collective past and cultural heritage.
On All Hallow’s Eve there are often Jack O Lantern’s decorating the fronts of houses. Originally these were placed on the gateposts of houses and other thresholds to ward off evil spirits.
When I see them, I feel connected, like I’m not completely cut off from the past, not marooned in the present. But that I can still access the wisdom of generations before me, something bigger than my attempts to make sense of life. When life, although in many ways scarier and inherently less secure, was somehow more profound and meaningful.
Christmas is another such time for me, although horribly distorted as a festival, it is still a time when one can think of the 100s of years of celebrations and the many generations who have been involved in them. I don’t feel so alone, but that the world is imbuded with significance, even if fleetingly – a significance I don’t impose upon it.
During Lent we are reminded, however tentatively, that life is not all about survival. As the early monastics knew so well, we need tradition, rhythm, seasons. Unproductivity. A sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves. And above all – to trust.
‘Man does not live by bread alone.’
I’ve given up chocolate – how about you?