A Late Start on Lent

I didn’t have my beginnings in a very traditional church, so the thought of observing Lent, well, it’s just not the sort of thing that I would’ve thought of doing.  But I recently caught wind that eddiemondo was giving up meat for Lent and it was strange, it made me jealous.  I’ll admit, that even as the resident holy man of our church, I know almost nothing about Lent.  I don’t know what the word means, I didn’t know it began on Ash Wednesday.  I just know that it’s the time during which my Catholic friends give up stuff like chocolate, sex, or TV.  In any case, eddiemondo sparked something in me.  The thought of sacrificing something for God as an act of devotion oddly appeals to me.  And more than that, the thought of physically and spiritually connecting to a tradition of Christian spirituality appealed to me even more; the thought of entering into a movement that far preceded me. 

So I’ve decided to join in the fast.  After an extended period of indecisiveness and talking to some friends, I’ve decided that I’m going to give up on caffeinated drinks from now till Good Friday.  So no coffee, no tea, no coke.  Like I said, I don’t really know anything about Lent, but it seemed to me that whatever it is I gave up, it should actually be a sacrifice, that it should be something I care about.  It should be something that affects my daily life.  And it shouldn’t be something that I should already give up anyway, like picking scabs or robbing banks.  At the same time, it has to be something I can do without imposing on the rest of my family; like giving up on showering wouldn’t be a good idea.  So, that’s how I ended up with caffeine.  I started Saturday night over an Indian meal at Daawat.

Now, as I’m blogging about this, I’m hit with the whole idea that Jesus talked about in his Sermon on the Mount about not bragging about your fasting:  

“When you fast, do not
look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to
show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received
their reward in full.
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so
that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to
your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in
secret, will reward you” (
Matthew 6:16-18). 

So, I hope I’m not giving the impression here that I’m bragging.  I think the reason why I feel compelled to blog about this is to (1) put words to my experience, (2) to find some solidarity, and (3) maybe to inspire other the way eddiemondo inspired me.

That’s it for now.  I’ll write soon about how it’s been.  I also should probably learn a little more about what Lent actually is.  Oh, I’m also writing from Caffe del Doge, a cafe — drinking a San Pellegrino and still on the wagon.

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