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.