A Lenten Refrain

First off – I’m not Catholic.

I’m Episcopalian. 🙂

Having said that, I do enjoy the….tradition?….of giving something up for Lent. I don’t think the practice needs to be one rooted in Catholicism, or even religion in general. I certainly understand that need for it in that context, but I think going without something is a good practice. There are a lot of people that go without many of our luxuries or even everyday conveniences and challenging yourself for 40 days is a ritual that can – if done authentically – give you some perspective.

And so every year I think about what I could give up. Some years I take this personal challenge a little more seriously than others. Some years I focus on one goal and sometimes I go for a combo package. One year I went really wacky and gave up soda, fried foods AND chocolate.

I will not be doing that this year.

I know…the whole idea is sacrifice…but, but, but….okay, I can give up soda (I should have already, but I usually find myself cheating once every week or two) but fried foods and chocolate? In my state? I don’t know about that. Plus, shouldn’t I try something new?

Of course, I found myself slamming into a roadblock when trying to come up with something new. To Google I go! I found a list of what some creative Catholic teens gave up for Lent and thought maybe I’d try some of their past successes. Here are their suggestions and my thoughts:

1. Shoes.

Um….this one was a little weird. They said they wore shoes on planes or where they needed to…well guess what? I only wear shoes where I need also. If I don’t need to wear shoes I probably don’t. I’m barefoot right now. And in the interest of full disclosure? Places I’m required to wear shoes? I’ve been wearing slippers sometimes. So that’s less of a sacrifice and more of a luxury these days.

2. Caffeine.

Mostly already done. I’ll take you on (at least in liquid form).

3. Spoons and forks.

Apparently this kid ate with chopsticks. That seems more silly than sacrifice thought. Also, I’m on a strong ice cream diet, so that’s not going to work.

4. My bed.

My back’s already killing me IN my bed. On my wood floor? I don’t think so. I really get the spirit of this one, but I”ll blame the baby and say no thank you for this year.

5. Food.

Under doctor’s orders I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be fasting right now.

6. Facebook.

This one sounds pretty good. But selfishly? I don’t work. I don’t leave the house every day. And I like feeling connected to people through FB. But perhaps I’ll put some restrains on it or something….

7. Sweets.

Does that include donuts? In the regular world I could do without sweets in a jiffy, but these days it’s like a force greater than me just leads my hand to sweets. Plus, I had chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, so that’s probably out already, huh?

8. My phone.

If my phone did anything other than call people I would totally get this. I am happy nearly every single day that I have a dumb phone. Hubs too. I LOVE that we can go to dinner and are NEVER distracted by the various updates we might be getting on our phones. And honestly? I could even give up my cell phone for the basic texting and calling. I’ve got a house phone people! But just in case I break down on the side of the road, my pregnant ass isn’t pushing my car anywhere. So I’m going to hold onto my phone.

9. Makeup.

Okay, haha! Can I still wear Chapstick please? 🙂

10. Television.

I don’t think I can do NO television, but I would like to come up with some restrictions for myself. Hours that the TV can’t be on, or rules that I can only watch TV if I’ve read 100 pages that day or already done (and folded!) the laundry or some other chore that I procrastinate on.

***********

Perhaps I’ll do something positive each day this year, instead of give something up….there are actually some pretty cool ideas there. Here are some ideas I’m rolling around and some stories that have inspired me, and might just inspire you 🙂 Check back later to see what I chose, and how it’s going!

  • Daily exercise – I’ve not really done any exercise recently, using the baby as an excuse. But I could (and should!) be doing SOMETHING. Even just taking a walk or a bike ride each day.
  • Volunteering – I’ve mentioned that I’m doing some volunteering with the church, but there are so many other opportunities that I haven’t taken up yet and I definitely have the time!
  • Being on time – I am SO on time….though I do know some poeple that could really benefit from this practice!
  • List 5 things you’re grateful for every day – I can dig this.
  • Go to an art museum or a botanical garden once a week and rejoice in beauty – ooh, I like it!

“One year for Lent I wrote a letter each day. I made a list of 40 people who have touched my life in one way or another. Each day of Lent, I wrote a person on the list a letter of thanks for how they touched my life and I prayed for that person on that day….it was a WONDERFUL experience!!!” – Patty

“Usually during Lent, on top of giving up something we love but don’t need, we say that any money that is found in the laundry, couches, and anywhere else was God’s money and we gave it to the poor. I remember one of the first years we did this, I found a $20 bill in a parking lot.” – Alyssa

SO – what are YOU doing for Lent???

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