Lent 2014

by - 7:14 PM

There are few times in my memory in which I have deliberately set myself up for failure. I guess I make it a habit to not embark on a journey with an intention to fail, but I know that 40 days is a dang long time and even longer when you delete sugar from the weak spots.

That's right, I said sugar. I love you, sugar.

It's Ash Wednesday today and the season of Lent begins. I give sugar up every year and typically, about twenty minutes in, I fail miserably. Usually I just forget. I've already popped seven jelly-bellies in my mouth before I realize that I made a personal pact with Jesus to give up the only thing that brings me joy at 3 in the afternoon. Do you know, with jelly bellies, you can fit a complete fruit cocktail in just one handful? What can be more joyful than that?

Giving up sugar, I guess, helps me feel the weight of mortality. Sort of.

All silliness aside, this is the first year that I feel a real connection to Lent and the sacrifice that it symbolizes. I was raised in Christianity and I know the Bible stories as well as any other Sunday School attendant, but this year, I became an adult who made an active choice to read the Bible. And every day, I adhere a little more tightly to the life it prescribes. This year, I feel the point of the sacrifice.

I wondered if giving up candy again would be a cop out. This morning, I starred down into my cup of coffee, my fabulous, loving, wonderful, bliss inducing cup of coffee, and briefly considered giving it up. That is a real sacrifice and I would feel it. And fail at it for sure. Interestingly, I took this Buzzfeed quiz as a joke, to see what their guidance would be as far as temporary sacrificial loss.  Buzzfeed was a buzzkill; it suggested I give up caffeine.

A couple of thoughts -- primarily, nobody likes me that way. More importantly, a week from now, I fully anticipate drinking coffee on a patio in the sun. Water, milk, and even booze, cannot fully replicate the happy feelings that come from drinking the first cup of coffee of the day, outside, as the sun rises.

Giving up sugar for 40 days is preparing for failure. Giving up coffee for 40 days is going down in flames in the midst of failure.

Last year, one day into Lent, right after I announced my commitment to abstaining from candy for Jesus, I somehow got my hands on a blow pop. Without a second thought, I unwrapped that baby and enjoyed the bejeezus out of it. I loved every single second of it -- until someone cheerfully reminded that um, hello! You're eating candy!

This year, I'm armed in a brand new way. Armed with the failures of last year, the year before, and every year before that, but also a growing comprehension of why. And that's the clincher, right? In high school I always whined in math class, when am I ever going to use this? I want to dedicate my life to the opposite of math! And my teacher, Mrs. Heslop, always calmly explained interest rates and mortgage payments and all of the boring grown up stuff for which high school math is important. And while I never loved math, I could appreciate why I needed to know the stuff. And this year, for Lent, I'm in the process of learning the why. I'm feeling the why. And maybe, just maybe, it will keep me candy free until Easter.

But no lie, I'm already dreaming of bingeing so hard on tootsie rolls. Bring on the blow pops!

PS - this is a public service announcement for my Oma, the fabulous lady who never forgets to buy me Peeps for Easter. And never forgets that I like them frozen. And preferably pink.

Oma, please don't even show them to me until after Easter.

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  1. I will eat enough sugar for the both of us, because that's what friends are for. :)
    And hold the phone... FROZEN Peeps?! Why have I never heard of this?! *beelines to drugstore*