Here's a little animated scene of Charlie Brown's friend Pig-pen, who lives perpetually in a cloud of dirt and dust. He even blackens the new snowman, seemingly oblivious, and apparently pleased to be living in a contagious atmosphere of dirt.
Atmosphere: *the gaseous envelope surrounding the earth. *a pervading influence: environment, e.g. an atmosphere of peace. *the dominant mood or emotional tone of a work of art, as of a play or novel *a distinctive quality as of a place.
But I'd go even further, suggesting that we each carry around with us a personal atmosphere of our own creating. I knew a fellow years ago who lived in such an atmosphere of funny - that he never said anything straight, and so he couldn't be known or trusted. Someone might carry around an atmosphere of doomsday, suspicion, conspiracy or even hate, moral haughtiness or power. Conversely, one might carry an atmosphere of joy, generosity, inner peace, optimism, compassion.
And like Pig-pen we can live in a great dust-up, but of complaint, grumbling and blaming. It's pervasive throughout our first-world culture, revealing a great discontent and ingratitude.We're perhaps not even aware of it within ourselves and might resent having someone point it out. But if we are aware of it, we might step up to this proposed fast (no grumbling, complaining, criticizing) and see if the spell can be broken by Easter.
I'm acknowledging that this may well present a much greater challenge than the usual candy, music, booze, junk-food abstinence thing. But forty days is the biblical number that simply means a long time. So we have this long time to start something new. And that's what Easter is about, yes? Like the springtime, We can change into, or become, something new.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, scroll down to the posts below for the previous two Sundays titled: Sexagesima and Septuagesima.