This week ran at typical speed, but also brought along two of my favorite days of the year. Holi (which isn’t actually until March 17, but we celebrated on Wednesday) and Ash Wednesday. I can’t say that either of these have been my favorites for long-I had no idea about Holi prior to coming to India, and this is probably the first time I’ve ever recognized the importance of Ash Wednesday-but both have a special place in my heart right now and in the ultimate mash up, they both fell on this past Wednesday.
There is long and involved Indian tale about the meaning of Holi, but as for our family’s interpretation, we keep it quite simple: After winter, the Holi festival signifies the colors of spring emerging. And, of course, that means dousing each other with beautiful colored powders and water! It is a fun day that I think all of the children look forward to each year. This year I played holi with my kids and it was great fun watching them get colorfully soaked. Stella wore a white dress (white showcases the colors of Holi best) and her blond hair became a rainbow in no time at all. It is definitely a family tradition I’d like to keep up once we leave India.
On Wednesday evening, after a long shower to rinse my Holi colors off, Noah, Sophie, and I went to St. Peter’s Church in Bandra to celebrate Ash Wednesday. At home we’ve been talking about the meaning of Lent and Noah and Sophie, with some encouragement, were happy to attend our first Catholic church service in India. Having never been to this church, and with my suffering from social anxiety in new situations, we sat at the back during the mass. Mass was done well, with a clarity and brevity that played well with an 8 and 9 year old after a long day of school. We prayed, received our ashes and headed out for a late dinner. We continued talking about different parts of the mass and Noah and Sophie shared some insights into their understanding and interpretation of the mass. In the end, of their own accord, Noah has given up his iTouch for Lent and Sophie her American Girl dolls. As the shallow one of the bunch, I’m trying to kick my Diet Coke habit and it has been embarrassingly hard. Perhaps the week of Holi, Parent Teacher Conferences, and Sports Day was the wrong week to begin all this. By the time 1:00 rolls around I’m seriously dreaming of Diet Coke. It will be trying experience, as it should be. I’ll be honest and say I’ve already slipped up once. As a family, we’ve also set aside a person (or dog) to pray for for each of the next 40 days. Noah and Sophie created the list themselves and Stella followed suit.
I am doing my best to wake up early, spend time praying, and stay off Facebook first thing in the morning. With another challenging week ahead (Paul’s coaching the HS Boys’ Basketball team in Bangladesh all week) I’m going to need the time to focus and reflect on my responsibilities each morning. Not as fun as reading all the status updates that pour in overnight, but certainly more important.
And a selfie my (biggest) girl requested after church and during dinner. She was proud of her ashes.