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?