Well, it’s that time of year again. The time to let go of material possessions, to give more than we get, to sacrifice, and even suffer. It’s God’s way more serious version of a New Year’s Resolution,…or as us Christians like to call it ; Lent.
So, what to “give up?” I’ve been giving things up since I was at least 8 years old. I remember in 4th grade I gave up chocolate. We took it very serious in our household, except on Sundays, when you could break your fast. Now, I still don’t know if that was a Shore thing, an urban legend, or a little reprieve from the big man upstairs. In any case, it was a thing at our house. Most likely it was because my parents, who usually gave up beer, needed a tasty adult beverage by Sunday or their three angel children would drive them clinically insane.
Anyway, this particular year, we were reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As a preview to the book, ( us teachers call it an anticipatory set) the teacher wanted us to taste chocolate and describe it. I was a little kid suffering inner turmoil. Do I break my fast? Do I disobey the teacher? It’s something to be said that I still remember this moment with agony and Catholic guilt. Admittedly, I cried and when my teacher asked what was wrong and I told her about my debacle. I don’t quite remember the lecture, but ultimately, in the name of education, I ate the chocolate and cried the whole bus ride home.
Very long story short, I don’t want to give up something that I will agonize over if life throws me a curve ball and I break my (other than Sunday) fast. Now, I could go the route us Catholics have all contemplated before, and “give up giving up something for Lent……… but who are we kidding, it’s been done and I’m to much of a pioneer to travel that path. So, here I am on a big Fat Tuesday thinking about what is most important.
My first thought, give up sweets? I took that habit on as a 4 month pregnant mama and haven’t let go yet….but, that’s easy. It’s trivial. BTDT. Drinking during the week perhaps? Let’s be honest, I’m a new mommy who’s going back to inner city teaching and who just happens to have a dog with cancer. NOT GONNA HAPPEN! Even more honest (sorry mom) not a good time to rid myself of the occasional, accompanying cigarette either! Pizza? No way, too much nutritional value or so I tell myself….
This brings me to the intrinsic. What can I do to reward my heart that is still a sacrifice? The first thing that comes to mind is to be more present. Basically, a multi-tasker’s nemesis. I mean, I’ve done the intrinsic Lent before. Do something nice for someone everyday, tell people you love them more, pray every morning….but this one? How do you even go about it? I’m not even present writing this. A toddler and a dad are wrestling, a baby needs snuggling, a dog needs petting and I am writing this blog…… So, to you all and to God above,it is a challenge… this will be my Lent… I will step away from the laundry, the bills, the swifter, the mind swirling, the planner, the screens… and pay more attention to: a terrible episode of Dora with my son, a sleeping baby in my arms, a silent snowfall, soft doggie fur, making coffee, eye contact, hugs, smiles, warm kisses, life in the moment it is happeningPURE JOY.
Well, that shouldn’t be so hard.
Some other Lenten favorites:
- giving up: pizza
- giving up: NOT wearing my seatbelt (stuck for life! My best one)
- give up: spitting “honking” ( my parents made me do this one…sorry I had allergies guys 😉 )
- giving up: keeping my phone by me in the car
- giving up: potato chips (Lou remember when you told me to close my eyes and then you put one in my mouth a week before Easter…I was destroyed. lol)
- giving up slouching (that may have been a NY Resolution stolen from Shannon Mary but still a good one)
- do a kind act every day…tough to remember but really rewarding.
Whatever you give up or give into, may you have no regrets, no guilt, no shame and may your ingredient of sacrifice be just enough to get your recipe right. xoxo