Who doesn't want to operate at their very best? What if striving for the best comes at the expense of the growth and wisdom that is achieved in the incremental "better"? Rozann Carter explores her path to self-improvement as Lent approaches, and discovers that "best" is not always, well, best.
I am an overly ambitious alarm clock setter.
My late-night self has way too much faith in my early-morning self. Right before I go to sleep, I become a daily workout fiend, an avid holy hour keeper, a homemade omelet maker, a morning person that would shame the likes of Mr. Folger himself. In the delusional stupor of midnight, I confidently set my iPhone alarm(s) for a lofty 4:30 (4:35) (4:40) am to get a head start on that book I am writing and send out 12-15 heartfelt thank-you notes while a week’s worth of lunches get rationed out from the slow-cooker.
Then, at 6:30 am, there are xylophones, pinball machines, and old-fashioned phones making one heck of a racket in my apartment. What?? How did this HAPPEN? Again? Livid and full of self-loathing, I scramble to get the day started with the backburners blazing, still with ample time but with a “Welp, the day is ruined” mindset. Lazy sloth me struggles to recover from the deflation of another fervent but unachieved goal. My opportunity to be the person I had pictured in my mind went right out the window… beside that iPhone blues musician.
With Ash Wednesday approaching, I realized that this “alarm-clock delusion” is an example of what seems to go wrong with my yearly approach to the Lenten season. It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of “good, better and best,” which are not simply three measurements on a flow chart that vary in degree. Let me explain...