“There’s something about it that makes sense, Lent. You give
something up, and everything’s more joyful.” ~Elaine Stritch
“I get a little behind during Lent, but it comes out even at Christmas.”
I can already see the headshaking, the visceral displeasure as my editor,
Melody, reads the title of this blog. I can practically hear her mumbling
sigh, “Why can’t this bone jockey, this glorified carpenter,
just write about something in his ballpark; an assiduous blog on when
to ice vs. heat, bandage 101, or a good ol’ lesson on ankle sprains?”
Don’t worry, this won’t at all become some theological argument.
I was raised, as I like to say, as a subscription Presbyterian. My mom
tried with a matriarchal fortitude to get me to church and Sunday school.
I can belt out a good Southern version of “Father Abraham”
just as well as the next churchgoer, but alas, most Sunday mornings my
church pew was the bow of a 14 ft. Jon boat, my sanctuary the mouth of
a marsh creek and my prayer the monkish chant, “go down red,”
as I remained transfixed by my cork swirling in an eddy by an oyster bar.
So why in the heck am I writing about Lent? As a middle-aged guy just trying
to stay on the right side of healthy and a doctor looking after his patients,
my own version of a flock, Lent makes sense. Even for those who are more
secular, the observance of Lent is a time to ditch habits that have a
negative impact on their lives. There are plenty of things we can add
to our life in order to make it better: proper diet, more sleep, an exercise
program, a hobby, date night with our spouse, read a good book. The list
goes on and on. However, most of us don’t have the time. Our garage
of life is stuffed full of just too much living: work, meetings, kids,
practices, morning exercise, evening emails, and all that in between.
Then Lent comes around and encourages us to pick one thing, just one thing,
to give up for 40 days and 40 nights. You just might be surprised by the
positive effect that one thing may have on your life.
For those of you that need a little push in the right direction, I’ve
compiled a list of the most common sacrifices during Lent:
- Fast food/ junk food
- Refined sugar
- Ice cream
- Social media
- Buying clothes
- Video games
There are lists upon lists of recommendations for Lent, but I think my
compressed version is a good springboard for those who need a little push.
I hope this helps.
We’re all in this together. I’m rooting for you.
The blog is over. Find something else to do.
Oh, I see you want to know what I’ve given up for Lent. “Physician
heal thyself.” Medice, cura te ipsum. There is no hypocrisy; I’m
not recommending an action that I would not partake. I have quite a list
to cull through and have picked my habit of social media to sacrifice
for Lent. Now, I will have to continue to check my emails for work, but
I’m focusing mostly on Instagram and Facebook. I love to see what
everyone else is doing, but I find myself with the best of intentions
to spend five minutes on those sites and instead waste 30 to 45 minutes
staring at foolish memes and guys displaying their catch from fishing
last Wednesday. (Who gets to fish on a Wednesday?) I could be doing something
productive with my life, so I’m going cold turkey. If anyone suffers
the first case of withdrawal symptoms from not scanning their social media,
it’s gonna be me. Forty days will be a long time, but my whole goal
is to push the reset button, and hopefully at the end of lent, I will
have found something more productive to fill that gap.