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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