I’m bad at this Lent thing. See, I grew up nothing…meaning that God and church were not a part of my life at all. Had you asked me what Lent was back then, I probably would have said a dried legume or a medium-sized grain (I’m pretty good at Balderdash, can you tell?). Had you asked me what Lent was when I was 18 and a newly “born again” Christian, I would have answered the same way. Had you asked me a few years later when I was eyeball-high in Southern fundamentalist, holy-roller church culture, I would have answered by saying that any non-Pentecostal church that had to celebrate things like Lent wasn’t part of the “true, spirit-filled church.” (In other words, I didn’t know a damn thing about the church calendar or tradition because those things were feared and abhorred by the Pentecostal church.)

Now that I have more of a sense of the church calendar, the liturgy, and tradition (because I attend an Episcopal church), I know what Lent is. It’s the six weeks that we spend focusing on our relationship with God, preparing (or cleansing) ourselves for Good Friday. Traditionally, parishioners have gone on some kind of fast. Being my first Lent to attempt this self-preparation, I decided to go easy on myself. I didn’t want to go all bonzai and, say, give up meat for 6 weeks, so I decided to give up chocolate. “How easy will that be!” I thought. “I can still have sweets, just not the dark brown variety. No problem.”

I was wrong. Apparently I eat chocolate a lot more than I thought because I have been craving it all freakin’ week. After a rich, tomatoey dinner the other night I thought I was going to die without a small piece of Toblerone. But I prevailed and didn’t touch it.

After class on Saturday afternoon, I did my usual stop at Target since I pass it on my way home. I kept finding thing after thing to look at (and ultimately purchase) like my CG Smoother foundation that is normally $6.99 marked down to $1.67; the cutest little eye shadow pots marked down to $0.57; oh, and the cool cat toys that Neville would just love to play with. I couldn’t stop. It was like an addiction going round and round that store looking at all the cool, discounted stuff. Before I knew it, it was around 2p.m. and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I went back to my car shaking and headachey with my low blood sugar. As I drove home, I remembered that I had bought a few protein bars the week prior (yes, from Target) so I reached into the back seat and grabbed one. Munch, munch, munch. Half-way through my ravenous attack on the sweet bar promising to have oodles of protein and other goodness, I realized that it was covered in chocolate. Oops. There went the Lent fast. Still shaking and feeling my headache worsen as I drove, I ate the rest of it with relish. That night, I made chocolate chip cookies because Huz mentioned a craving for them and I ate them too, figuring I had already blown the chocolate fast. I guess I’ll have to find something else to give up for the next 5 weeks. Doh! (But, hey, at least I don’t think that Lent is a legume anymore!)

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