Monday, March 7, 2011


I’ve been thinking about Lent.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” I asked John. “Because I have some ideas for you. You should give up alcoholic beverages. I’m giving up sex.”

“Wow. A double win,” was his response.

He was unenthused.

Lent, of course, is the 40 day period before Easter Sunday where Christians take time to pray and contemplate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Self-denial is a practice of Lent that I have always been perfectly happy not to participate in. I’ve only ever attended protestant churches that don’t participate in Lent; yet, I’ve always been intrigued by the concept.

So, I’ve been thinking seriously about participating in Lent, which starts this Wednesday, but I can’t decide what to deprive myself of. I’m focusing on the following verse:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor 9: 24-27 ESV

I like this verse. It works on many levels. I’m hoping that if, for 40 days, I focus on becoming more physically disciplined, I will also become more mentally and spiritually disciplined, because when it comes to self-control, I am lacking. I am much like Kiah the Wonder Dog, unable to stay out of the pantry, unable to focus on tasks at hand, unable to keep my small brain from getting into mischief.

I do not pee on the floor. I want to make that clear.

I think I’m going to try and eliminate processed foods (with the exception of Cheerios. I can not be without Cheerios. And pasta and rice. I’ll try to go whole grain…) and limit my overall daily sugar intake. This will require supernatural assistance, especially since it is Cadbury Cream Egg season.

(I wish they made a sugar patch, like a nicotine patch. I am so very addicted to sugar.)

I’d be more disciplined at running- actual physical running- if I didn’t suffer from a debilitating condition. My toes and the balls of my feet go numb after I’ve run about a mile. At first it just feels weird, but then it gets prickly and painful, like running on little needles.

Why does this happen?

So, I’ve been training in the pool, but I think I need a lesson. I may have trouble swimming in a straight line. (A statement that, like the verse above, works on both a literal and figurative level.) Knock into an elderly woman once, and it’s an honest mistake. Do it more than once, and suddenly you’re a “menace” and “out to get people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.”

There have been many obstacles to getting in shape. I’m talking literal obstacles that take the form of grouchy old women floating on those tube things.

So, here I am this evening, contemplating a 40-day sugar semi-fast, while half watching a National Geographic show entitled “My Child is a Monkey” and eating a small bowl of sugary fruit loops. (And let’s be honest. There will probably be more small bowls of sugary fruit loops as the evening progresses.) The TV guide’s synopses of “My Child is a Monkey”: Primates who are adopted as surrogate human babies. I thought it would be funny. It has turned out to be dreadfully depressing. Here’s to hoping that the following program, “Marijuana Nation,” will be more uplifting.

Also, I’m noting how often I’ve used the word “I” in this post. Will write about narcissism later this week, because that’s what narcissistic bloggers do: write about their narcissism in a self-deprecating narcissistic manner. Also trying to give up narcissism for lent.

What are you giving up?


Elizabeth said...

Its Ash Wednesday ... my kids are wondering around with charcoal crosses on their foreheads.
Happy Lent and Peace be with you

Holly said...

Elizabeth! I can't get on to your blog! HELP!

Traci Michele said...

You are so funny! Loved this post. I've never participated in Lent. I guess I always thought it was a non-protestant thing to do.

I guess it can't be a bad thing to go through a little self-denial... if it is to glorify God.

You are helarious... let me know if you discover a sugar patch... I'll be all over becoming a test subject for that patch! lol


kim minyard said...

I am giving up french fries, goign to read psalms and proverbs for 30 minutes daily and pray for someone other than myself.

Holly said...

I love the "pray for someone other than myself" part- what a great time to remember to do that.

Toaster said...

Love Cadbury Cream Eggs! I was just telling Bob that I don't think I had one last year at all; he was unsympathetic.

PS--Being the lapsed Catholic that I am, I am not giving up anything for Lent, but believe it or not, there was a period of time when I was still not eating meat on Fridays...and getting Bob to do it along with me (well, at least when he was within my sight)!

Elizabeth said...

Sorry Holly I went private because that pesky Matt Damon kept trying to stalk me ... oops I was supposed to give up fibbing for Lent.
I will send you an invite STAT.

Liz said...

I've been toying with giving up FB for lent... but 40 days is a long time! And I know it's Thursday and I should have decided by now... but I can't commit. So I haven't logged on since Tuesday...we'll see how long it lasts!

Holly said...

Good luck with that. I had major temptation in Wegmans Wednesday- baker aisle. I actually said a little prayer and kept walking...

Jessie said...

Please send all Cadbury Creme eggs my direction. :) I'll help you on your lack of sugar quest in any way I can! :)

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Never give up Cheerios! I have sort of slipped out of Lent since I married a Jew. I guess I gave up ever having an easy conversation about religion forever...but sigar I could not do!

Good luck!