Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

A Moveable Feast, Without Dessert

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the first day of the 40 days and nights leading up to Easter (it’s actually 46, but we don’t count Sundays, just because). It’s meant to be a time of repentance and reflection, in the manner of Jesus’ time in the desert, and traditionally, observant Catholics (and others) give up something during this time, as a demonstration of their repentance and in recognition of Jesus’ fast in the desert and his resistance of temptation.

I’ll be observing Lent this year. I observe Lent most years – the exceptions being those years in which I have been mad at God (another topic entirely) and/or have been feeling wholly agnostic and/or defiant of the Catholic Church – and this year, especially, it’s something that I must do, as committed as I am this year to fully embracing matters of faith and reflecting upon same. I have, in the past, given up meat or coffee or Diet Coke. This year, I’m going to give up chocolate, and it’s not going to be easy, not only because I love chocolate, which I do, but because chocolate is a crutch for me: it is the thing that fills in for Ativan or liquor when I’m feeling anxious, the little pick-me-up that keeps me from drinking 16 cups of coffee in a day, the lovely, sweet creamy source of solace when I’m feeling sad. I will miss it terribly.


The only question now is, since it is Fat Tuesday, the day when we’re allowed to yuck it up and indulge in advance of giving up such lovely things as chocolate, is whether I buy myself an entire chocolate cake, or one of those big red velvet box of Valentine’s bon bons that will for sure be on sale, and eat it all myself, perhaps while watching Lost.

I’m certainly tempted. That’s part of the point, right?

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posted February 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I am not trying to talk you out of giving up chocolate – you know best what sort of thing your soul really needs. But if chocolate is a little way that you get through your day, be sure you can give it up and still be (relatively) cheerful. Meaning, your penance shouldn’t turn into a penance for those around you! While sacrifice and resistance to temptation is part of Lent, being miserable is not the point.
I usually give something up that I both enjoy and that is harmful to me (like complaining or gossiping) AND I try to do something positive – whether its write letters to people I haven’t in a while, or give extra money to some charity, or make an effort to compliment someone at least once a day.
I hope it is a spiritually fruitful Lent for you. xo

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posted February 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I think you should whoop it up today. As a matter of fact, I should have myself a beer right now at 2:30 in the afternoon, since I’m giving up drinking for Lent.
You are certainly allowed to do it that way. Enjoy! and don’t let a moments guilt pass your mind.

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posted February 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Whoop it up so very, very much.
The 40 day vs. 46 day thing never made sense to me growing up. Clearly, it’s why my mom let us have the thing we gave up on each Sunday during Lent.
Now that I’m an Episcopalian, I’m no longer strident about keeping my pledge. (My church encourages us to throw a $1 in each time we “blow” it during Lent. I always say, “Can I write you the check for $40 right now and call it ‘even’?”
But I’m going to be good this year. I’m giving up alcohol. (Although I think I might enjoy a drink each Sunday!)
Good luck. Enjoy your chocolate high today.

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