Every February I begin to wonder what I will give up for Lent. I admit, I’m not always successful in my abstaining from whatever it is I have chosen. Ok, let me just be perfectly honest, I’m an epic failure at Lent, rarely getting past four days let alone forty. So a few years ago, I decided that I didn’t have to necessarily give up something for Lent, why couldn’t I do something that I don’t usually do. Something that would make me a better person. I could be more charitable with my time, I could perhaps make a difference in someone else’s life. It’s no secret that I do not like to conform and I’m not a huge fan of the rules society or religion places upon us. So putting a spin on how I was going to handle the Lenten season wasn’t much of a shock to those that know me well. Besides, the year I gave up coffee only caused me to swear more, so the following year I gave up swearing which almost led to stroke like episodes. My health was obviously at risk – Jesus would not want that.
This year I decided to let those who have touched my life in some way know how much they mean to me. Every day, beginning on March 5, I have written a letter and mailed it (no, not an e-mail – a letter with an envelope and a stamp ) to a person who has made a difference in my life. Maybe what they did happened ten years ago or it could have taken place only ten days ago – it could have been monumental or maybe a small, random act of kindness, it doesn’t matter, forty people will have received a letter from me by the end of the Lenten season. And given my life’s circumstances, it will be very easy to write to forty people who have been there for me. This endeavor may very well carry into our next religious holiday, maybe Rosh Hashana. Wait, wrong religion. But you get the idea.
Personally, I’ve never understood how giving up something like Facebook or cookies or chicken strengthened one’s relationship with Christ. But that’s just me. Giving up sweets isn’t an option for me, I’ve been on a 12oo calorie diet for six weeks now – the only thing sweet I see is my children’s faces and given that one of them is 19, even that metaphor is a stretch. I also don’t drink soda or eat fast food – two of the most popular things people choose to abstain from for forty days. According to Twitter, here are the most popular things people are giving up:
Whatever you choose to give up for Lent is a very personal decision – and for me, doing something extra is a good fit. I’ve already heard from one person who received a letter from me. I didn’t have her mailing address, so I drove to her home and placed the letter on her porch with a flower from my garden. She called me later that day and was almost in tears. You know, those happy tears us women are prone to. Giving up chocolate wouldn’t have made her day or caused me to reflect on all the good in people – but reminding her how much what she did for me & my family a few years ago sure did.
So yeah, I think Jesus is ok with me still drinking coffee and swearing now and again. And we all know that Jesus was a coffee drinker, it’s in the Bible – Hebrews it!