Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lent is Cool

So we're off. It's Ash Wednesday and the journey that Catholics and many other Christians observe in preparation for Easter has begun. Traditionally this is a time of self denial and charitable giving. In other more archaic words its mortification and almsgiving. If you let it, Lent might seem like a downer with little appeal in today's culture; but it doesn’t have to be.

Incidentally, I've had a blast at work the last few days as a few of my co-workers discussed what we would give up for lent; I'm giving up potato chips and number puzzles like sudoku, some of my colleagues are giving up chocolates. We're very supportive but not everyone is helpful, one of the ladies who gave up chocolates brought in several bags of potato chips for the sole purpose of making my promise more difficult to keep. (It's unimaginable how some people can be so cruel . . . I'm glad I took the preemptive strike of filling a big jar with chocolate Easter eggs, or I wouldn't have been able to bear it.)

Despite the pressure, we've all been able to keep our Lenten promises for the first day. The neat thing is how many non-religious people at work are joining in the fast, giving up various foods or luxuries. Some are just looking for another reason to diet, but I think the truth is Lent is a refreshing opportunity to just say no to yourself in a culture that tells us we need everything we want right now. It's a great break from being a slave to every little desire, no wonder Lent is catching on.

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