Please Vote Danny for “Most Valuable & Beautiful Lent Warrior 2013”

Happy Ash Wednesday everybody!!

As soon as I am done writing this, I’m walking over to my Church, The Church of the Village, so that our Pastor Vicki and/or Bishop J can do the ashes smudgy thing on my face. I’m really excited about it. You see, this is my very first Lent. Not THE first Lent. That’s been going on for a while. I’ve just come to acknowledge God over the past year. I say “acknowledge”, because He has always beside me. I guess I had treated Him like a “mean girl” my entire life, ignoring him sitting next to me in the cafeteria and pretending He did not exist. But deep down I knew He existed and I knew of His unending love. As circumstance would have it, one day I needed His help very badly. He came running, no questions asked, and rescued me. And because He was there, today I am here. But that is a whole ‘nother story for another time… this is about my first Lent!!

Oh yeah, who the heck am I? I’m Danny Leary. I’m 34. I’m from New Mexico. I moved to NYC about 12 years ago to become the next Patti LuPone. As you can see, that has not happened yet. What has happened is some stand-up comedy, some writing, some singing and several Grammy Awards. One of those facts is not true. The important thing to know about me is that I am not only the envy of my neighborhood, but I am also very green in my faith. I am just now getting to know God. I am reading the Scriptures for the first time. This walking with God business AND letting Him lead is a new hat. So in the unlikely event of a pop-quiz, you might not want to copy my answers. I will probably say some incorrect things along the way. I may raise your eyebrows. And I will most likely win the Nobel Prize for all of this.

So Day 1–Ash Wednesday!! I consulted with Regina Muse, my former pastor (who is serving at FUMC Lampasas, TX) and current friend (though she did NOT send me a Christmas present this year.) Pastor Regina told me that when observing Lent, we are preparing our hearts and minds for Easter. Historically, not Biblically, this whole thing is 40 days of fasting and prayer to think about all that Jesus gave up on the cross – his life. Many of us choose to give up something important as a personal sacrifice for Lent. I learned from Bishop J at Church of the Village that we may also take something ON during Lent.

So armed with all of that info I made some decisions. Now, I have been known to be competitive. So just in case there is an awards ceremony with cash prizes at the end of this whole thing, I am going to compete to WIN. I am doing 3 things for this, my very first Lenten season:

1)      I am giving up sweets. Now, I know that sounds superficial. But you don’t understand. When I have a bad day, when I have a good day, when there is a day, I like to cope by face-planting into cupcakes, donuts and candy bars. I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. I don’t drink or use drugs anymore. I don’t do anything wild but eat sweets. So to give them up is to take comfort from me. It’s a bigger deal that it seems on the surface. My hope is to transfer seeking security from God, rather than in false things like Pop-Tarts. (And yes, Pop-Tarts do keep it real, but you get what I am saying.)

2)      I am going to do something nice for a stranger every day. I know that sounds cliché and unoriginal – but I am new in my Faith. And as I see it, the basic principle of God, is to Love. And that loving those that are the HARDEST to love (the stinkies, the grouch behind the counter, any public employee) is what this Christian thing is all about. So I am going to do something nice for not only a stranger, but an annoying stranger. I live in New York City, these annoying brothers and sisters-in-Christ should be EASY to find. And as a side-note: I pray to be less-judgmental.

3)      I will devote 30 minutes a day to reading the Bible. I’m going to start at Page 1. I already pray daily. Sometimes thrice daily. (Yeah I said thrice.) But to read the Bible for 30 minutes a day… to be honest, sounds as exciting as pledging to read an Algebra textbook. But the Bible is History. And I want to grow in my Faith. And I want to get to know God, and find out what he has done throughout the ages. And honestly, I’d love to be able to jump into a Bible Scholar conversation at some point and make an argument and drop a scripture number. Can you picture it? “No… YOU’RE WRONG….that’s Jeremiah 29:11, Suckahhhhhh !!”—  HA!!!

So there you have my “Big Three.” One for the Father. One for the Son. And One for the Holy Ghost! Oh I do want to point out to you, that SUNDAYS are free days. Yes, I sacrifice for 40 days total, but I get a reprieve on Sundays. I am not making this up. So if you see me at Magnolia Bakery on Sunday, reading a book that is NOT the Bible, and being mean to the woman on her cell phone next to me, you can relax. It is my day off.  Good Christian practices will resume the following morning.

So what’s next for me??? I’m going to The Church of the Village to get smudges on my forehead!! In olden days**, a mark on your forehead meant that you were owned. On Ash Wednesday, when we get a cross smudged on our forehead. It’s a symbol of belonging to Jesus Christ – who died on a cross. I’m so grateful that my life’s journey has brought me here today, to acknowledge before all  the world that I do belong to God.

Wish me luck. I will be posting on these adventures every Wednesday until we get to the end. I may add in an extra posting here and there. I hope you do cast your votes for me for “Most Valuable & Beautiful Lent Warrior 2013.” I could sure use the brand new red Corvette that comes along with that title.

XOXO Your Favorite Little Brother-In-Christ,

Danny Leary

** if you thought I was going to break into “Anything Goes” (The Patti LuPone revival obv) –then I want to be your friend. We can start on Facebook.