Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Okay.  Lent begins.  No more opinions until Easter.  Ooh, how very, very restful.  I tell you, this day was full of opinions.

Oh – for those of you feeling bewildered and not knowing what I’m talking about: I’ve chosen to give up opinions for Lent.

This does not mean opinions won’t arise within my mind, I’ll just keep them to myself.
I intend still to express preferences – so if someone says, “Would you like some cheese on that or not?” I won’t be responding: “Whatever.”

I expect I’ll still say what I think, but try to express it as something other than a judgement/evaluation.  So I can say I really like yoghourt with prunes but not that yoghourt with prunes is delicious.  I can say I love the sun but not that sunlight is beautiful. At first glance that may seem rather pedantic, but I suspect it will be liberating. 

I was born into a family with decided views expressed in certain terms.  Its members never perceived the boundary between objective reality and personal viewpoint.  Thus it was that I grew up believing purple to be ugly, vulgar and hideous, “settee” to be a socially inferior term and sweet sherry to be contemptibly infra dig.  I was thirty before I came out about my penchant for Lemon Puffs, forty before I admitted to preferring sweet sherry and hating dry wine, and I never wore anything purple before I joined a religious organization that insisted upon it.

Opinions have bludgeoned me into submission my whole life long.   Being released into the wilderness where no opinions are looks like one glorious six-week holiday from here.

You are not bound by this foray of mine, of course: you will be entirely free to tell me as often as you like that in your opinion what I have just said is an opinion: because the great thing is I won’t be able to tell you if I agree with you or not.  You can just say it.

Me eating yoghourt with prunes.  In the sunshine.


Anonymous said...

No comment, Hahahahaha

Sherry xxx

Pen Wilcock said...



Rapunzel said...

In my opinion you look absolutely posh in your sunshine jumper.

I too come from an opinionated clan, and have spent the last twenty years or so sorting out fact from handed-down opinion. My conclusion is that despite being raised in an atmosphere of absolute certainty on a zillion things I don't know much of anything at all. Oddly I feel ok about that.
Life is so much HEAVIER when you have to know, or be right or do everything correctly.
May your opinionless Lenten season be darn near weightless.

Lucy Honeychurch said...

Pen, what happened to purple and Servants Of Jesus, did I miss something?

Ganeidaz Knot said...

I love you, Pen. ♥

Pen Wilcock said...

Rapunzel - absolutely. Same family. x

Ganeida - love you right back, friend x

Lucy - Well, the Servants with Jesus are required to each wear her cross and something purple, so that's what I always do. But we don't have to be purple head to foot, though when we meet up the sisters usually do, just to mark the occasion, and when we do something where we are representing the Servants With Jesus.

gail said...

Oh Pen, I don't think I could manage that for six weeks. You've got me thinking now. I seem to have opinions on most things. Quite often I really think people really don't want my opinion anyway. This could be a very quiet and refreshing time for you. Please let us know how you're going with it.
Blessings Gail

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) I will let you know. For sure I know I welcome anything that makes me more mindful of what say and how I say it.

rebecca said...

I would be setting myself up for certain failure if I were to give up opinions for Lent.

Sounds like you are looking forward to your glorious six-week holiday. I have about 12 hours to decide if and from what I will "abstain" for the Glorious Weeks. (I'm leaning toward an add-on rather than a subtraction, however. Maybe Both/And - as did our Lord those 40 days...."not bread alone/every word that proceeds from the mouth of God".)

Anonymous said...

And I've begun Lent by reading 'The Wilderness Within You' and promoting it to a Facebook friend. :) First chapter read and pondered over on the bus this morning! It's going to be a good journey.

And what a lovely spring day.

Blessings to you, Pen, and I LOVE the sunshine jumper!

- Philippa (fangirling Brother Tom since 1993)

Gerry Snape said...

known in the family as "the judge"...I always add ...with mercy!!!!

John Fortyfoot said...

Hello Pen I have been an avid reader of both your blog and the Hawk and the Dove series and have decided to follow your Lenten study. One of the discoveries I have recently made is the exhilaration of repentance. I had always looked on it as a negative experience until realising it should be like the invigorating shower we take after a day's work, before we spend the rest of our day with those we love. Thank you for the honesty that is in your words.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Rebecca - I'll be interested to discover what you settle on for your Lenten practice this year! x

Hi Philippa - Hooray! Thank you! x

Hi Gerry - heheh yes, I can relate to that :0) x

Hi John - Repentance . . . yes, it can feel like a liberation. x

gretchen said...

dear pen - we share opinionated natures. that's one of the things that i've been working on with my confessor and which will continue to challenge me throughout lent. i recently ordered 'the hardest thing to do' (after thoroughly enjoying the hawk & the dove trilogy) and was delighted to see its lenten structure. so that is going to be my daily reading until the loveliness of easter sunday. thank you for making my lenten experience a good one. blessing on your lenten journey.

Pen Wilcock said...


I hope you enjoy the book! xx

San said...

Cheering you on from the side lines!


Pen Wilcock said...

:0) x

Susie said...

Reading the wilderness within for lent . Recovering from torture - very well thanks be to God- and your description of your mind dissolving at the thought of it is amazing and so accurate!! Also being kicked around and Jesus not turning away ! Looks like a super lent ahead except for the first time I have given something up - cake and puddings. And keep dreaming of apple crumble! Never mind if Jesus could be tempted and resist ...... Thanks so much :) sue

Pen Wilcock said...

Kept this comment, Susie, and deleted the other, as this seemed to have more in it. Hope that's okay. xx

Anonymous said...

I think I just sent you 2 comments on the wrong blog post! lol That's what I get for having multipul pages of your blog open at once!! lol You don't have to post them as they'll make no sense at all :-D

Also you don't have to post this either as it will definitely make no sense! lol

Pen Wilcock said...

Well, I did post them because I knew what you meant! x