I was baptized a Methodist but I confirmed as a Lutheran after I met my husband in high school. Being an old guard Protestant, I really shouldn’t care about what the Catholic Church is up to, but the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI causes me to take pause. Not because what he says means much to me, but because the transition of power over such a large amount of people and such an old institution is something that is simply fascinating to me.
I think it is also aptly timed, as we of the Christian faith are preparing for the most sacred part of the Christian Calendar: Lent and Easter. While we don’t have to, my husband and I, since we’ve been together, have always held a “fast” of sometime during this season. Usually we give up soda. One year we got ambitious and we gave up soda and beef. The soda is annoying but relatively easy. We end up drinking a lot of Hawaiian punch and Iced Tea. I find giving up soda to be annoying mostly because it is my go-to method of caffeine consumption. It’s quick, easy and cheap. Cutting it out generally means that I’m cranky for 6 weeks. Last year, because I was pregnant anyway, I gave it up and committed to drinking tea. I ended up just having an extra miserable third trimester. I told my husband that I wasn’t going to give up soda this year. We can’t afford for me to drink coffee every day and I only drink tea when I’m sick. I know that the point is that I sacrifice and give up something that I love, but I can’t function without that daily hit of caffeine.
The one year that we gave up soda AND beef was a disaster. Did you know that beef is in pretty much everything? I’d find myself munching on something, and I’d be like, “what’s in this?” and someone would start rattling off ingredients and beef would always be item number 3 or 4. It would be like nooooo. And then there was the one time when I was delirious hungry, walked up to the concessions stand right outside of the subway and ordered a beef patty. A Jamaican beef patty, for God’s Sake! and sat down and at it hungry. Half way through, my brain registered what was happening. I stopped mid-swallow with guilt. Awful. The Husband, too, was just as guilty. That was the last time we did that!
The Husband, this year, is giving up soda, sweets, and he has decided that he’s going to work out 3 times a week during Lent. I was like…wow, that’s a lot.
So I’m going to give up sweets so as not to sabotage and I’m going to stick with my at least 2-day work-out schedule. I decided that I’ll commit to going to church during these Sundays without grumbling (our Pastor is suboptimal…lots of fluff without a lot of substance. He thinks he is cool if he can mention Facebook and Star Wars in the same lecture. Unfortunately, you never come out of any of his sermons having learned anything). I think that, also, I’m going to spend a little more time with my Bible, reading passages daily for this time period and reflecting on those readings. I’d like this time to be more than just a routine, but a time of deep thought. It has to be about more than Soda. It has to be about who I am in relation with my God.
So what does that mean? Homemade Kinklings over the weekend. Red Velvet Cupcakes today and tomorrow and then the banishment of sweets from the house. No baking for me for the next 6 weeks outside of our Friday morning breakfast muffins (which aren’t terribly sweet at all).
I consider myself to be an East Coast Christian: I am a Christian who loves God, tries to follow his tenants, tries to please him in my actions and tries to teach my children to do the same. I am not an Evangelical. I do not announce my Christianity to my Facebook friends on a daily basis, I don’t try to “share” the Good Word in what I consider to be inappropriate places, and I don’t use my Christianity as a social tool in any way. My relationship with God, I believe, should be as private as my relationship with my Husband. I’m happy to share appropriately, but I believe that there is a time and a place. I don’t think I want to adjust that, even during Lent. Indeed, outside of commenting on some sort of specific epiphany, this will probably be my only real post on my faith.
I’m actually looking forward to this time of looking inward and evaluating the course of things. I think that after the dust settles from the New Year in January, and the resolutions fade away as they always do, Lent is a really great time to reevaluate and get back on the horse.
So to all of you preparing as well, I hope that your Shrove Tuesday is fat indeed. I’ll look forward to sharing with you over the coming weeks.