Why I Like Lent

February 25, 2009 at 1:41 am (Uncategorized) ()

What I Like about Lent


So today is Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras…whatever you call it, I’m glad about it, because it means that Lent starts tomorrow.  

My six-year-old is seriously stressed about that fact, as she can’t decide what to give up for Lent.  It’s obvious that she wants to challenge herself; she keeps coming up with great ideas that would be really difficult to put into practice.  First, she thought she might give up dessert.  I nixed that idea, since for one, I don’t want her someday to fall into the trap of “Lent as diet tactic” which I have been guilty of on more than one occasion.  Secondly, she’s six.  Lent is forty days.  I’m no mathematician, but those numbers don’t seem to add up.  Thirdly, she’s a skinny little kid with an incredibly limited palette (read: she’s picky as hell) and I don’t think taking away cookies, cakes and other goodies is a good idea.  So she went back to the drawing board and came up with…giving up arguing with her brother.  I love the impulse, but as I told her, I don’t think God wants us to do the impossible – that’s His job.  So now she’s stuck.

She’ll come up with something though.  I already have.  I’m going to be shelving the computer, at least during the day, (great time to start a blog, no?  I like to make things difficult for myself, I’m afraid…) and I’m going to be foregoing my guilty pleasure of browsing (read: memorizing) real estate listings.  They’re both bad habits.  Obsessively checking email, or logging onto Facebook eight bazillion times a day takes me out of the present.  What am I looking for in my virtual connections that I’m not getting from the people right in front of me?  Not to mention the deleterious effect on my to-do list, e.g., laundry, clean out cupboard of shame, closet of shame, basement of shame…And as I said to a friend of mine at school the other day, I’m pretty sure I’m breaking a commandment with my real estate habit.  Drooling over the 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath one block from the lake seems an awful lot like coveting to me.

That’s one of the reasons Lent is so great.  It’s a great time for focusing.  Not that a person couldn’t engage in this kind of self-reflection any time of year, but Lent is a seasonal kick-in-the-pants.  And I like the simplicity of it too.  You’ve got three things to do during Lent, the Church says:  pray, fast, and give alms.  Well, when you break it down like that, it just doesn’t seem so hard to work out your salvation a little.  

I think my daughter’s figured it out too.  She’s decided to give up candy for Lent.  It’s a good choice.  It will be hard to say no to the ubiquitous lollipops…at the bank, the shoe store…but she’ll be able to do it, and she’ll feel proud of herself for her accomplishment.  Sort of the way mopping the floors is a chore, but so satisfying when you’re looking at the sparkling hardwood.  So Lent is spring cleaning for the soul, maybe, even if spring does feel an awfully long way away here in Wisconsin.



  1. Birdie Bird said,

    Okay, I’ll read. Nicely said. I’ve always loved Lent for all those reasons. I just can’t believe it’s come around again.

  2. New Mama said,

    I’m not religious but I was raised Catholic, and I do like the idea of Lent. You have raised one thoughtful sweet girl, that’s for sure. And I check real estate listings all the time too — I thought I was the only one! It certainly does not leave me feeling happy with what I have.

    If you have some extra time now that you’ve nixed the computer during the day (something I keep thinking I should do, too), we should get the H’s together.

    And nice to see you in the blog world. 😉

  3. Lenten resolutions, the remix « Bats in the Belfry said,

    […] resolutions) Here we are again…another Lent. It has been almost an entire year since I started this poor little neglected blog, and I have the strangest feeling that I’ve been here before. […]

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