French fries and cigarettes….if you ask me what I’m giving up for Lent this year, that’s what I’ll tell you. Then I’ll probably make some kind of joke about giving up all things long and skinny…Seriously though, people like concrete answers when it comes to how you will repent.
For me, it’s like this…I don’t smoke often and I eat French fries even less. I have been known to sneak more than a few off my child’s plate or splurge occasionally in the drive thru. But, I mean, I’m not hiding those golden, salty, fingers in my pocket or anything. Nevertheless neither are good for you and both represent something bigger.
I went to church today with some shapeless ideas in mind of “what to give up.” In years past I’ve always given up something I loved, usually food…why is that? I believe the big idea here is that when you fast and your belly is hungry that you replace that hunger with a hunger for prayer. I imagine you would too…But the Catholic religion has since realized that it is not feaseable to fast when other obligations require us to have energy.so very much energy… So we abstain from meat on certain days and “give something up.” In church today the priest had us sit in silence and just visit with God….he said to see what God wanted from us rather than what we were seeking from Him. So I sat and I sat and I peeked one eye open because just sitting does not come easily to me… But when I quieted my mind for just a few minutes I realized something. I am not as happy as I should be. I feel like an out of tune organ. I am becoming detrimental to my own well-being. And, detriment seems like it could easily be represented by a picture of French fries and cigarettes, doesnt it? But it’s more than that. I have somehow drifted from my spirituality. I have to try and wind my way through the woods back to that. I lost my way somehow? I have attempted to carve out time for meditation, for prayer, for exercise and for reflection…but when my students push me and bills call and frustration mounts I get stuck in the mud. I get stuck with pettiness and gluttony and French fries and cigarettes and everything that makes me forget my good fortune. So while I may say I’m giving up something, what I mean is that I’m trying to gain selflessness, appreciation, and self love back. What I really mean is that I am devoted to creating an elevated version of myself.