I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved desserts. And not in moderation, either. Give me a choice of several delicious treats at a dessert buffet and I’ll have plenty of each. Take a second pass? Certainly! Load me up! Why? Heck if I know.
My other eating habits are a little more sane, somewhat, maybe. Even so, I’m reasonably fit for the shape I’m in.
So it was a bit of a surprise when I felt a strong guidance to give up desserts for Lent. I’m not Catholic, and I’ve never observed Lent or even given it much thought. But there we were, middle of February, 40 days until Easter. Blessed mystical number! And there are some other big and exciting changes coming up in our lives. The pull was there, no doubt about it, and so I went with it.
No dessert. 40 days. And for good measure I committed to cutting out salty snacks and salt from the shaker. Oh, yeah, and milk. In for 40 pennies, in for 40 pounds.
40 days later:
It appears that I’ve miscalculated: Easter is still a few days away. What happened? It turns out that there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. * Who knew? Well, maybe the millions of people who are steeped in the tradition and take it seriously! Ok, I learned something there, and not just about how the days are counted.
The food thing was no sacrifice at all. I was a little surprised to see that I didn’t miss desserts or table salt. For one thing, there’s a lot of salt and sugar hiding in our food anyway. That’s even if you’re going for the healthy stuff. Apparently, much more vigilance, or should I say mindfulness is called for. Another thing learned.
The results overall? I lost a couple of pounds. Felt lighter and stronger in general. I also caught myself, just once or twice mind you, feeling a bit virtuous about the whole thing. Which is pretty much the opposite of virtuous, isn’t it? It’s a little bit like being proud of being humble.
Lent is a deep, deep practice, and I’m starting to get an inkling that the food is the least of it. I’ll be looking forward to Lent 2019. Happy Easter!
One calculation has been that the season of Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. This calculation makes Lent last 46 days, if the 6 Sundays are included, but only 40, if they are excluded, because there is no obligation to fast on the six Sundays in Lent.
(c) 2018 Mike Davis