Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On giving, or not giving,something up for Lent

The question of the day, mainly among Christians, but also among some non-Christians is, "What are you giving up for Lent?""

For years, this was an easy answer. I followed my grandmother's example of giving up chocolate for Lent. It was an easy answer that nonetheless felt like a real sacrifice.

Tow things happened to change that: I got married, and we had our first child. Both these gentlemen managed to have birthdays that fall during Lent. Give up celebrating family birthdays? No way.
For the same reason, giving up sweets didn't fly.

Over the years, I have given up more than one thing: coffee drinks ( the fancy kind, not all coffee), giving up meat, giving up any number of things. Eventually, I admitted that it was a meaningless gesture for *me*. At one point in all of this, one of our pastors gave a message on the idea of adding a spiritual practice for Lent rather than giving something up. This works so much better for me, and is helped along by the devotional guides and extra services our church provides.
Now, giving something up for Lent IS a very enriching experience for many people. For many Christians, it's a true sacrifice given to God. For others; Christian, non-Christian, and marginally Christian, Lent seems to be taken as an opportunity  to make behavioral  changes: giving up smoking, drinking, or soda, for example, the the hopes of keeping up with it after Easter.
I even made this joking post today about Lenten sacrifice:
Fellow Pinners, it looks like either my computer and/or teh interwebz has decided I should give up Pinterest for Lent. I really don't believe in "signs" but coming when it has, I think I will take it as one and attempt to get back to the pinning after Easter. I'm sure I'll use the extra hour or so a day in either charitable or spiritual activities.
That said, I will kind of give a few things up this Lent. I will give up getting drinks in disposable cups (which will force me to THINK about wanting a drink anywhere ; I actually did a whole year where I did not get a coffee or tea drink if I had to use a throw-away cup. I found my habits changed for years afterward, but in the last year I've been slipping).
I will give up on the clothing in my closets that I really have to admit I will never wear, and give it to the clothing bank.
I will give up on expecting perfection in the childrens' schoolwork, and focus on what matters. Getting every single math problem right is NOT the goal ( although understanding that Marc Chagal left Germany to flee the Nazis *IS*)
Perhaps most importantly, I will recommit myself every day to not letting a temporary frustration allow me to cause permanent hurt to another.


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Lone Star Ma said...

Lovely post.


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