Today is Ash Wednesday which, if you’re not already familiar with, signifies the beginning of lent. Since I was raised Christian and grew up attending Catholic schools I can tell you this much about lent. Lent means you have to give something up for 40 days. Yup, that is the extent of what I know.
Apparently it doesn’t take much convincing with me. With that little detail I’ve blindly participated in this sacrament many times (I just used the word sacrament not knowing whether lent is actually a sacrament. If it isn’t, it should be). I remember one year when I was 13 giving up Ice Tea. That might sound like a strange thing to give up, but at the time it was to me what Orange Pop is to Charlie Sheen. Well it was Ice Tea or slurpees; OR if it was Friday ONE pop and then more Ice Tea.
I used to take a giant water bottle, fill it with water, add double the recommended scoops of Ice Tea mix and diesel them back like I was running sprints in the desert. I drank it while playing basketball, watching movies; it may have even sat on my bedside table in case I should wake up thirsty. Can't have that. Looking back I think this may have had something to do with the fact that it was the only high sugar drink/snack in the house that my Mom forgot to put a restriction on. Oh yes Teresa, you let one slip past ya. Not me though.
Now I’m going to google the REAL definition of lent…
1. The period of forty weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter, observed variously in Christian churches by fasting and penitence. (pretty similar to mine i'd say)
Now I need to google penitence…
1. a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
2. a voluntary punishment to atone for a sin, crime, etc.
3. a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.
I wonder what I was atoning for when I gave up Ice Tea? I doubt I was truly sorry for anything, but I probably said fighting with my Sister and not doing the dishes. Not doing the dishes is a funny one since I was never allowed to not do them. I probably mean't not wanting to do the dishes. Those were my go-to’s when it came to reconciliation, confirmation work book questions, or any other time a priest or teacher tried to put me on the spot.
Wikipedia tells me that, according to the bible, the 40 days of lent signifies the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by Satan. This got me thinking, if Satan were trying to lure me in the only two things that I MIGHT fall for are peanut butter and TV, especially if I were bored and hungry in the desert.
Well I CAN'T give up TV. WHAT would I do?!?!? No really WHAT? That's not even an option I can consider. I want to consider it, but I can't. That leaves Peanut Butter. I can't make any rash decisions this minute, but I'll think about it. There are plenty of things I can atone for this go around.
Lastly, why does it say fasting for 40 days? Do some people not eat for 40 days? I don’t think Jesus would want that. Speaking of Jesus, I wonder what Satan was tempting HIM with... Probably just water. It's Jesus.