It is hard to think of giving up more, when we are giving up so much already this year. The new frugality out of necessity makes our lives more interesting - and often just plain hard. We consider every purchase, and work to make everything stretch. Mr. Bryant rides the bus, and I pack lunch. But still, Lent asks that we deeply ponder our lives, our "needs" v. our "wants," and asks us to bring our whole self to consider sacrifice.
So as we thought about what to give up for lent this year - that would be meaningful and keep us focused for 40 days and 40 nights - I started to do some research. The internet is, after all, the sum total of all human knowledge - so there should be some information available, right? Well yes, there was and is. In fact, there are some very interesting ideas out there. For example, Cleveland newspaper columnist Regina Brett has some great ideas of things to give up for Lent here, including things like:
- Being a Type-A. Using your horn. Telling jokes you wouldn't tell in front of your grandmother.
- Smoking cigars. They stink, you stink, then we stink.
- Your fear of failure. God loves you as is, flaws and all. Accept it and live happily ever after.
- The need to be right. Caring what other people think of you. Believing everything you think.
- Searching the Web for hours instead of spending a half hour talking to the widow next door or throwing a football with the neighbor kids.
- Reading about Britney, Brangelina and Rihanna.
- Buying one more toy you don't need.
- Whining about the good old days. Instead, make today better for those who will outlive you.
Then there are forums where the conversation centers around the question "Can anyone really derive value from sacrifice?" There are pages where people are sharing how they plan to give up social networking sites and still keep their friends, and long discussions about turning off their computers. And giving up Little Debbies. And focusing on giving in addition to giving up.
So finally, after much thought, I've decided to give up meat again this Lent. We don't eat much meat to begin with, but we do eat meat simply because it is easy. It is quick to put a meal together around meat - meat in a casserole, meat on a sandwich, meat and three. Eating vegetarian meals requires more thought, a bit of planning, some consideration - and that thought and preparation is not only good for our meals but good for me. It makes me more grateful; more appreciative of what I do have.
We will explore different ways of eating and new recipes that are hopefully good for our hearts and bodies, we will explore ways to conserve and make lunches out of those dinners - and obviously the fast food meals are OUT. Of course, now that we are giving up meat, all the meat in these pictures looks FABULOUS. Hmpf.
We are still talking about how we will include the theme of giving into our everyday lives throughout Lent, and I plan to start with the inspiration from my favorite quote - "Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James
At the end of the day I am hoping that it will be a sacrifice that's good for my head, my heart, my finances and my spiritual discipline.