Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday


Content, adjective: in a state of peaceful happiness; satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more; verb: satisfy (someone); noun: a state of satisfaction.

Evolve, verb: develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form; (with reference to an organism or biological feature) develop over successive generations, especially as a result of natural selection.

Sober, adjective: not affected by alcohol; not drunk; serious, sensible, and solemn; free from alcoholism; not habitually drinking alcohol; muted in color; verb: make or become sober after drinking alcohol; make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn.

ASH Wednesday

“Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline.

Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (
Esther 4:1-3;Jeremiah 6:26;Daniel 9:3).”

Read more about Lent here

Since I am a Southern Baptist, it is not a usual practice for Baptist to give up anything during Lent. If you question why check out this link

I have worked for an Episcopal boss, my mom is Catholic, and my boyfriend is Lutheran, so I am familiar with Lent. Sometimes I participate in Lent to share the other practitioners woe’s.  I also take Lent seriously, or else why do it? In the past, I’ve given up chewing gum- for which I have an addiction to and should go to meetings (if there is such a thing). I’ve given up eating french fries, drinking alcohol, and drinking sodas(these were individually given up over the years– not all at once).  The soda fast included me not eating apiece of Dr. Pepper cake. I was chastised for not eating it because “eating” was not “drinking,” but JESUS would know!!! 

Regardless of how I sang in the choir; I am infatuated with monks.  I have a serious crush on the late Thomas Merton.  In no means am I making light of anyone’s religious affiliations.  Nor, do I want to persuade your religious beliefs.  With that being said, I’ll share with you my conversation with my friends over Lent that almost got me punched in the face!

This past Sunday the 15th,  my girlfriends Arlene, Lucy Kay, and I pondered what each of us would give up for Lent.  Lucy Kay and I always love to wind up Arlene.

Arlene said, “I like everything.  My doctor already made me give up alcohol. I’ve been sober now almost a year.”

“For Lent you give up something that you cherish so you will suffer, Lent is not about being content with what you give up,” I said.

“I could give up candy,” said Arlene. 

“Does candy include nuts?  What about those tooth breaking nut clusters you get from Sam’s?” I ask. 

“Candy is one thing.  Nuts are another.  I don’t have to give up two things!” Arlene protested. She shot me a look like she was going to come at me. 

“Arlene, you should give up cheese puffs,” said Lucy Kay.  “Every book I get from you after you have read it has orange finger prints all through it.”

“I do not eat cheese puffs. I eat Cheetos.  They are crunchy.”   

“Yeah, give up Cheetos,” I begin to laugh.  I know Arlene eats a bag of Cheetos a day. 

Arlene was getting hot, “What the hell are you going to give up?” she asked snarkily.

“Maybe you should give up cussing!” Lucy Kay was fueling the fire.

“What the hell???” I repeat with a smirk, “Is cussing something you really enjoy Arlene?” 

Now, I’ve done it.  Arlene was ready to fight!  I braced myself ready to take the punch, because I knew it was coming. 

Lucy Kay was laughing and she saw it coming too, but before Arlene could throw the punch, she said, “Boy this is good cake!” 

I’m not stupid. I hurried to the kitchen to get me a piece so Arlene could cool off. I escaped getting punched. When I return I say, “I need to eat cake, I might give it up for Lent,” Arlene made the cake.  She’s made cakes as long as I’ve known her. Only a compliment could change Arlene’s attitude.  I choked down the cake, and said it was yummy! Arlene’s cakes are dry but we don’t tell her.  Her cakes have not evolved over the years. They are still hard to digest.   If I give up eating cake, I will have an excuse not to eat her cakes for a few weeks. 

FYI-  I’m giving up an hour of sleep for Lent.  I’m going to get up early and walk the dog.  The dog will hate it because he is not a morning person.  I know I will have to explain Lent to him, and I already know what he will say, “What the hell??  You chose this for Lent, not me!!”  My Boston Terrier cusses like a sailor, but that’s only because he’s tiny and uses his diva attitude to get what he wants. Perhaps he cusses because he spends a lot of time with Arlene. 

Happy Lent Ya’ll!
-        DP


  1. It's no mere coincidence that Lent corresponds to the bleakest time of year, when last year's stored up food is being depleted and you don't dare eat the seeds needed for the coming year's harvest. So in olden days, giving something up might have been a survival mechanism.

    These days, giving up some luxury might in the tiniest of ways make one a better person, but it does nothing for the community, and might actually be a net negative, depending how much grouchiness ensues.

    i think it's better to make an effort to do something for somebody - to extend yourself to benefit another, rather than restrict yourself in what really is an involuted act of ego.

    Just an opinion. Don't punch me.


    1. I like your thinking! It's Arlene that punches people not me!

  2. I gave up chewing gum, but not for lent. I had to quit entirely because it kept pulling my teeth apart.

    1. I'm sure it was a sneaky dentist that invented gum...

  3. I love the humour running through this - gives a real joy to the practice of lent

  4. I didn't know 3WW was still around. We Presbyterians are kind of on the fence with Lent. Growing up, I never heard anything about it but more and more bits of the practice of Lent is slipping in and there is something to be said for fasting and preparing... Thanks for visiting my blog.