Its that time again; it’s the end of the month, and wanted to do a quick update on my weightless project. I am not proud to say that I’ve actually gained a little weight. However, I think my next check-in is going to be a little bit different than my previous two, but before I dig into that, I have have earned another $10.09 to help feed the hungry (so I guess I can’t feel too bad about the extra weight).
Ok, now for the good stuff! The first thing I want to say is that Lent is one of my favorite times of year. I think that most of us think that Lent is a time of growth. Well, I take that a little bit differently than most. I actually think that Lent is a time of loss. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The first thing people ask you is “What are you giving up for Lent.” What a profound statement. I think that really both outlooks are correct; what do we gain by losing? Jesus gave his life for us, but look at what we’ve gained because of it…It’s such a strange though…losing to gain.
I have been very blessed in my life. I really have been given WAY too much. I grew up in a great neighborhood, with great schools, great people, I have a great wife, great house, two fun pooches, with a third “pooch” on the way. I don’t bring this up because I’m bragging, but I think there is something truly profound to learn in Lent when you reflect all the wonderful things in your life. The first thing I do when Lent nears is think about all these wonders in my life, and I think what if I wasn’t so blessed. What can I give up to make my life “hard” what can I do to experience just a taste of what it means to be not so lucky.
Well this may seem silly, but as most you know the first thing I do is give up alcohol for Lent every year. Sure, it seems petty that alcohol is difficult for me to give up, but I come Irish and Italian families…needless to say during Lent there is always wine and whiskey present…and as many of us forget, St. Patrick’s Day is always during Lent. My point is that giving up all alcohol during this time is not the most straight forward proposition. That being said, just giving up booze would be too easy, right? That’s why during Lent I also give up something else.
This year I’m giving up fried food. Again, how silly. However, if you knew me, you would know that fried food is truly a crutch of mine. BUT that is not even my point (at this point you’re probably thinking, “is he ever going to actually make is point?” Well, I am, and here it is).
This Lent, my gain is that I am going to lose a BUNCH of weight. No alcohol, no fried food…Ok, that’s not really my point. My thought is that when you give something up for Lent, do you ever consider how you’ve gained as a person? Sure I’m going to lose weight and that is fantastic, but I am going to gain so much more! I will gain more self-control, I am going to gain discipline, I am going to at least get a taste of making life harder (albeit not really all that hard), so I can gain a little bit of clarity of what it means to give up something for a greater good, like Jesus.
I cannot even begin to image that sacrifice. Jesus was a human just like you or I, but think about my tiny sacrifice as compared to what Jesus gave up for us and I realize how petty AND important my sacrifice is. I understand that my gesture is very small, BUT it is the gesture that is so important. Every year, we all make a pledge to give something up, but the journey it to Easter gives us so much more than we ever truly give up. It is because of our gesture that we are all able grow in Lent.