Thursday, March 10, 2011


I've been thinking about Lent lately; I grew up going to church, but we never went to a church that participated in Lent. Consequently,  Lent was a foreign concept to me for many years.  I get the idea of it and think it's actually a pretty good idea, but it seems that a lot of people use it as a means to lose weight.  To cut out the bad stuff and hopefully lose a few pounds.

I'm not sure that's what the church had in mind.  However, if sacrificing brownies or fast food is what you want, and you're doing it because it's something you desperately want to change about yourself, then go for it. 

Although, as I was driving to the gym yesterday and feeling quite uncharacteristically apathetic about my workout, I said 'maybe I should give up exercise for Lent.'

Of course, that was just my bad mood talking.  I could never do anything that drastic.

But then I wonder, isn't that the point?  To sacrifice something we love and feel we can't live without because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross?

I don't think I'm 'addicted' to junk food.  I have a sweet tooth; I eat chocolate in some form everyday, but I'm not sure that eliminating them for 40 days would be true sacrifice.  For me, I think giving up my gym time, or couponing and clearance deal shopping would be a much more painful sacrifice.  Or even something as simple as my habit of pouncing on the computer the moment I wake up.  Even before I have the chance to wipe the sleepy dust from my eyes, I've brewed myself a cup of tea and am sitting at the computer, catching up on all I missed while I was sleeping.  Could you imagine giving up the Internet for 40 days?  But you see, those things (shopping, exercise, Internet surfing, etc.) are things I crave; the things I get most excited about.  The things I turn to when I want to make myself feel better.  The things I do when I'm bored, mad, sad or feeling empty.

I suppose if I were to ever to the Lent thing, I'd choose one of my non-food vices.

But then again, no one mentioned coffee.  Honestly, the potential fallout that might occur from the elimination of coffee from my diet leaves me feeling a bit uneasy. 

In fact, the other night Caroline and I were talking about Lent.  We talked about the reasons behind the practice, and she said, 'mom, you should give up coffee.'  To which I replied, 'good idea, but we don't do Lent, remember?'

Whew, I totally dodged that bullet!  ;)

Forgive my rambling please.  I actually sat down with the intention of doing a confession post and here I am writing incoherently about a religious ritual I never participate in.

I guess I'll just hold confession tomorrow, instead. Which is okay because it'll give me time to think of more things to confess.  I may not be Catholic, but I sure can do Catholic guilt.


EDITED TO ADD:  As soon as I hit 'publish post' I ate a brownie. 

I have no idea what that means, but I figured I'd share it with you, anyway.


Sister Mary Mama said...

I don't do Lent either, but I did go to two Ash Wednesday services yesterday. At the Catholic one I asked a first grade student about Lent and he said it was about giving stuff up. So, I asked him what he was giving up. He thought and then answered, "TV." I said, "For 40 days?!" He quickly changed his answer to "dessert."

Great blog post. You are good at Catholic guilt with a bit of Jewish guilt thrown in. It's in the genes.

Alison said...

Speaking of Jewish guilt, I sure could use one of those black and white cookies Jen posted on her blog.

'Look to the cookie, Elaine.'

Sissy said...

My denomination doesn't do Lent either, but when in college I went to an Ash Wednesday service and got the ashes put on my forehead. It was an interesting experience. That year I gave up the elevator in my dorm as a sacrifice (I lived on the third floor). I don't feel that it brought me closer to God, but I can understand that those that have grown up with it and really live it would be renewed.

Jen Fiamengo said...

Oh those black and white cookies are so good! Thank you Jewish Jan for such deliciousness!