Despite my modern lifestyle, many are surprised to discover that deep down I am, in fact, quite traditional. It displays itself in small ways; when I write a thank you note (or letter), my desire that a man I date isn’t lazy in his courtship, my strong sense of family, and of course the traditions. Like religion.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m at church every week. Or that I agree with everything the church stands for. I am, by admission, a cafeteria Catholic, which will make me subject to remarks, I am sure, that I have no right to consider myself a part of the faith
However, I was raised in the Catholic Church, my entire family on both sides, is Catholic and always has been. While I may not show up to mass every week, and disagree with some of the politics of the church I find that I am pretty passionate about a few things regarding the church…and one of them in Lent.
Maybe it’s because Easter is my favorite holiday, or maybe it’s because the whole concept of suffering and sacrifice goes from a notion to something we can actually put into practice. It’s difficult for me to use my imagine and think about what it was like to suffer, it doesn’t resonate as much as saying “Ok for 46 days I am not going to do X” (I say 46 because unlike many people I don’t allow Sunday to be a “day of rest”)
I also don’t think it should just be a time of sacrifice but also deliverance. I try and take this time to be a better person, to be kinder, to do something nice every day.
Whatever it is, Lent is something I take seriously. I go to mass. I ACTUALLY give things up and stick to it. I don’t eat meat on Friday. I fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I take it seriously.
So what am I giving up this year?
1. Chocolate. This will be excruciating for me. I tried giving up chocolate for a week once and got the shakes. But I need to push myself. It’s the only thing in my life that is really a sacrifice to abstain from.
2. Alcohol. This is kind of a fake one. I don’t really like drinking much anyway. Yet somehow get pressured into engaging in it when I’m out. Now I have an excuse to not partake. I’m ecstatic
3. A decidedly pointless and unhealthy relationship that I’ve been engaging in for entirely too long. It was fun at first, and there was reason for it. Now it’s just routine maintenance on account of boredom and distraction. Relationships should mean something, and upheld for a purpose. This is a “clearing my head” break. Can reevaluate in 46 days.
4. My bad habit of smoking when drunk or bored. I don’t like it, or enjoy it or need it. So I’m going to stop it. Simple.
I think we are so saturated with messages that we can do what we want, whenever we want that taking some time to “deprive” ourselves can only serve as an important lesson. This culture that we live in cultivates a sense of entitlement, and instant gratification. We (or at least I) often forget how lucky I am, and don’t take the time to appreciate life’s little blessings (like chocolate)
Going without is never easy, but I hope that doing so will allow my a better perspective of what thousands of people endure daily and also bring me a better sense of the meaning of Lent/Easter allowing me to appreciate the “haves” when I am allowed to indulge again.