Ahhhhh – Lent. That dark time before the light of Easter. Lent – the time where we can give up, do more, and admit to our failings. I love Lent! It makes me feel so human. If Lent is all about admitting our human frailties and repenting for our past mistakes (sin), then isn’t it true that none of us are perfect? Whew – I thought it was just me.
Even as a young girl, I just loved Lent. Back then I didn’t mind giving up meat or candy or whatever it was. It made me feel special – like I had accomplished something. I suffered! Then I realized it wasn’t about me or about my feeling special. As I got older, I discerned more and followed less. I felt Jesus didn’t give a hoot about my eating meat. I did think it might impress him if I was more mindful about eating period! I felt it was about giving something up that would make me or someone else better. It never made sense to me when folks would give up meat and then eat lump crab cakes or 16.99/pound grilled salmon. What kind of sacrifice is that?
As much as I like many of the rituals of the church in which I grew up, I really don’t feel very good about doing some things “just because.” I don’t at all feel guilty about eating meat at anytime during Lent (no guiltier than I ever feel about eating meat; vegetarianism is definitely in my future). The trick for me has been to let others give up their meat without me judging them. That is often a struggle for me; I need others to act and react like me in order for me to feel safe and comfortable. Maybe I could give that up for Lent – my judging mind. How much peace could I spread if I would stop judging myself and other fro a full 40 days? Ash Wednesday seems a good time to begin.