During Lent this year, I noticed two things.
1) I am terrible with silence. I was supposed to set aside 15 minutes a day to spend in silence with God. I was surprised at how hard it was. I lost what little rhythm I had with the process over Spring Break and never went back. I remembered that I was supposed to be setting the time aside, but I gave it up as too hard. I may have to try to work it into my post-Easter life just to prove to myself that I can. I am a perfectionist which means I either get ridiculously driven to do something, or I quit on it because I can't do it right. I don't like to be a quitter.
2) I am also terrible at telling myself, "no." I felt immense freedom Sunday morning when I woke up. Lent was over. I could once again buy books whenever I want. Telling myself "no" for seven weeks was good discipline, but also felt oppressive. Even though there was no book I wanted to buy Sunday, I felt elated relief because I could. The relief seemed out of proportion to the denial. It would have made more sense if there was something I wanted that I could finally have, but there wasn't. It was just the principle that I could make my own choices and do whatever I wanted.
Freedom is good.
But another phrase keeps coming to mind: Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.
Freedom feels better than denial. But freedom comes with great responsibility. I am hopeful that the lessons of Lent will linger beyond Easter morning this year.