“Sacrifice, which is the passion of great souls, has never been the law of societies.” Henri Frederic Amiel
I come from a family that gives up stuff for Lent. Not a particularly religious family, but one strangely competitive in the act of depriving ourselves for 40 days or so. We weren’t even very good at it – as kids we had “free pass days” including any holiday named for a saint (Valentine’s, Patrick’s), and Sundays.
Sweets often took the hit in my youth and I was pretty pompous and self righteous about giving up such a huge part of my life; I was making a BIG
sacrifice. In comparison, my niece is a specialist; some years back she gave up Oreos which left her free to eat Hydrox, a better transfat-laden cookie IMHO. But my niece abstained for the full 40 days. I, on the other hand, stockpiled every missed cookie, candy and dessert (except ice cream for obvious reasons) in bags in my room and then gorged myself silly on Sundays, without noting that my mother, afflicted with a sweet tooth more powerful than mine, was helping herself along the way. Oh, how I would have squawked had I known.
When I first got married I tried to give up things for my husband. He’d walk in and I’d say “Guess what. You gave up ice cream”. This irritates him, I know, because I tried again last night. He sometimes starts a theological discussion about what I am doing and why. For me the choice has something to do with family tradition, added to a desire to experience sacrifice because we are fortunate and don’t always know what it means to want something and have it denied (mostly if we want something, we buy it). In that light, giving up sweets (or my other choices) seems pretty paltry especially when you consider that one year as an adult I gave up carbohydrates and (some would say “conveniently”) forgot wine was one. Oops. My other reason is an attempt to become a better me. I have since heard the reasonable argument that that goal should not have a 40-day life span. Baby steps, people.
This year I gave up coffee including anything from my brand new (Christmas gift) Keurig. Working from home, I’ve been downing about 4 cups a day. Part two of my Lenten promise – I’ve committed to exercising 4x a week and the exercise will most likely be walking where I do in fact take time to contemplate life, God, the world and my place in it.
My husband didn’t like the choice with the Keurig. “Well, then what did I get this for?”
I said “To be a fabulous treat after 40 days (I’ve aged out of free days) of withdrawal. You’re supposed to give up something you really, really like.”
“Something you really, really like? Well, where does that leave me and the rabbits?”
“Well you left the toilet seat up and dishes in the sink; the rabbits destroyed my box spring and trashed their cage like a couple of rock stars; you’re not in any danger.”
Uh oh, logic miscalculation; so in this scenario, if they want to keep from being banished, they have to make me not like them too much. What have I done? Do-over, please.
“Make Mine Chocolate” http://www.makeminechocolate.org/ click on this link to find out why bunnies do NOT make good Easter presents, or just look at the top photo to see what they did to my box spring. People need to understand them before commiting to a life (7-11 years) with a rabbit.
©2011 by Alison Colby-Campbell