Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lent's Over!

Lent.  Not my favorite time of year.  The weather is dreary.  The branches are bare.  And, darned if I hate giving up stuff.  I don’t mind prayer.  In fact, I find it soothing and meditative.  Alms Giving is fine too.   Making a conscious effort to do for others is something that should be emphasized beyond the 40 days in the desert.  I’m all for that. But I just can’t seem to take the fasting seriously.

Year after year I trick myself into thinking that what I give up is difficult.  Last year for example, it was candy.  Candy?  Easy.  I’m not at all obsessed with that.  The year before that I gave up desserts.  Also not hard.  There have been years that I would sacrifice breakfast.  Please, I never eat breakfast.  So this year I thought long and hard about my “sacrifice”.  And then it came to me like manna from heaven.

Every day between 4 and 5 pm I’m ravenous.  I raid the cabinets for anything to satisfy the pleasure centers in my brain.  The part that releases those oh so satisfying chemicals that tell me I’m content.  I noticed a pattern that had to be addressed. Chips.  Salty, deep-fried not baked good old-fashioned chips.  That’s what I decided to give up.

Boy has it been a long, wet, cold winter.  I plunged into the challenge with such high expectations.  I strategized on my shopping list.  I avoided treat day at work. I hoped for divine intervention or some kind of sign that God was watching over me.  Here’s what happened.

I did great with prayer.  Daily and nightly I prayed for healing, said prayers of thanks, prayers of petition and intervention.  Quite frequently I prayed for guidance.  And I got it. I was good to go with prayer.  Alms giving came easy to.  I’m pretty much tapped out with the financial output to various charities and fund-raisers.  And, I try to spend as much time as possible doing for others.

Fasting on the other hand continued to be difficult.  Several times I tricked myself into thinking that those “baked crackers” didn’t count.  I hit the nuts like they were going out of style.  And I began adding salt to everything.  No divine intervention here.

I failed, faltered, and berated myself for my lack of self-control.  Is it that hard?  Is it that bad to not really buy into it?  Do I have to be so hard on myself?  Does it really matter? Just couldn’t succeed on any level with fasting.

So today I celebrated Easter with wonderful friends and a loving family and I let it go.  I’ll think about it again next year.

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