Lent begins in a week. You may think that this isn’t a big deal for me, but it kinda is. I actually make an attempt to observe it every year. And every year, I do it wrong.
Most of us know Lent as that time where we give up something we like ( usually food). In Sunday School, I vaguely recall someone saying something about self-reflection, prayer and sacrifice but I wouldn’t really bet money on it. I spent most of my time there being ticked off that my mom and uncle were having breakfast and I was stuck in a classroom.
So, this is roughly my (highly likely wrong) understanding of Lent: I physically give something up to help me gain spiritual strength. For this spiritual strength, I must be patient, have willpower and discipline and all that other good stuff. That way, not only do I get to know how hard it must have been for good ol’ JC to fast for 40 days and 40 nights, I get all this good stuff for my soul and I end up being a better person. (Unrelated: doesn’t ‘spiritual strength’ sound like something out of Slothmud?)
I usually do okay with the physical bit. I pick something to not eat, maintain low expectations of myself and somehow make it through the forty days. This usually results in me acquiring a taste for something that I ate to compensate for whatever I was abstaining from, something that I will like so much that I’ll probably have to abstain from for the following Lent. But that’s a different story.
It’s the spiritual part that’s a bummer to me. Even though I manage to stay away from meat and chocolates or whatever, I’m not quiet about it. By Day 30, I’m a rabid mess; I start dreaming about all the food I can’t have, then I tell my roommates about it. I make insane declarations like, “farm animals will fear Easter, for I shall slaughter and devour them all!”
I basically do everything the Bible says not to do when fasting or praying.
Don’t even get me started on the whole impure thoughts thing. I swear, every annoying person that has ever been in my life will choose to come in contact with me during Lent and show me precisely how painful it is to know them. I know that the right thing to do is consider it a temptation from the devil and take it all in stride. I even think this when these people are sticking metaphorical needles in my eye, but instead of taking a deep breath and asking God to grant me patience, I start making lists of diseases I want them to suffer and die from. My favourites are gonorrhea, gangrenous testicles and strokes. Some days, I don’t even TRY to be nice. You can see how this is a damper on the whole gaining spiritual strength thing.
However, I’m nothing if not optimistic. I’m counting on the physical abstinence to score me a few points at the Pearly Gates. It’s gotta count for something, right?
Which is why this year, I asked my friends to suggest something for me to abstain from. You know, maybe they’ve seen me obsess about something and I’m in denial so I’d never think to abstain from it. I need something epic this year, because I foresee myself being a spiritual ass and I need to counter that with some serious sacrificing. Yes, I also know that what a person does during Lent is supposed to be deep, meaningful and personal. Somehow I’ve managed to make such a big deal out of it publicly that I’m just waiting for someone to offer me a reality-TV show contract.Strike three, maybe?
Back to my story. One suggested I become vegetarian for this period of time and another suggested I give up Twitter for 40 days. While I seriously am considering the first friend’s idea, to the latter friend I immediately responded with, “fuck off and die.”
Something tells me this year’s Lent will be completely wasted.