Every year, I make every effort to take part in this. I think it’s a somewhat important thing to do, even outside of religion. Learning to let go of unnecessary or frivolous or unimportant things is sometimes, well, necessary.
This year, Lent came up on me much faster than I expected it to. I was never able to put much thought into what I was going to give up or let go of. I’d thought of some things. I considered giving up meat and booze, but then a couple things came to mind: 1) we’re going to Japan during Lent and I really don’t want to miss out on Kobe beef while we’re there…and pork is in EVERYTHING and 2) I don’t really drink that much anyway. It would be that much of a stretch or challenge to not do something I already don’t do much of anyway. But when we were at Megan and Paul’s house over the weekend, she mentioned that she was giving up shopping for Lent. That actually did strike me. I do a lot of excess shopping that I shouldn’t. I can find a reason to shop at any time. It’s true. I don’t need help to find a reason to buy something. And frankly, that’s not really fair to Todd. I have a credit card from my “single days” that, while he has access to, he just doesn’t use. And I get all bent out of shape (sometimes) when he uses “our” credit card for things I’m not aware of. Which is extra-crappy of me because a lot of times, the things he buys that I’m unaware of are nice things for me (new laptops, flowers delivered to work, miscellaneous “prizes”).
So this Lenten Season, I’m giving up shopping. I know it’s going to be incredibly difficult. I need a new hairdryer (but not desperately). I want to get mousse for my hair (but that’s rather excessive, considering the amount of hair gunk that I already have). And those are just things I came up with this morning! You can see this is going to be a challenge.
But I think I can do it. I think I need to do it. It just means that my wedding gown preservation will have to wait another 40 days (yes, I know. It’s been almost 18months since the wedding and I’ve still not gotten it preserved. That’s another Oprah…I’m trying to decide on a lot of things re: the gown still). I am also not going to eat meat on Friday’s, but that’s something that Todd and I usually do during Lent anyway. Ha! The way we are during Lent, you’d think we were good old fashioned Cafeteria Catholics! At any rate, there are about a million reasons I could come up with why I think it’s important for me to be a part of Lent, but I don’t know that it’s necessary to get into it here. I wasn’t raised Catholic and my family never did Lent when I was growing up. This is a relatively new development for me…it’s only been in the last 6-8 years that I’ve started making Lent a priority.
Denying myself something that I’ve seen as important for so long is a good exercise in understanding what it means to go without. Yes, I know…”shopping” is frivolous in and of itself. It’s not like a person ever died or was killed for lack of shopping.
So while this isn’t like I’m giving up food or water for 40 days, I think it’s going to be a good way for me to really understand what denial is. Hopefully.