Today we start the season of giving up . . . not in the cry-Uncle-please-stop-torturing-me-type-of-giving-up but instead the stop-this-for-a-while-and-consider-God-instead kind. I've been toying with what my offering might be this year.
I considered several of the familiar options . . . some kind of food or drink. I listened as friends described theirs -- the radio in the morning on the drive to work, chocolate. And I even toyed with the yeah-right variety . . . as in giving up the nonexistent sex in my life.
But I've determined that for me it's all about really focusing. And many of the possibilities wouldn't necessarily insure that I replace thoughts of IT with thoughts on God. That's why I've determined that it has to be a daily exercise that I'm sure to do and sure to notice not doing. So . . . M's candy dish in the front foyer and the nuts/raisins/M&M bowl in the break room are now officially off limits to me during the days of Lent.
A friend who is new to some of the practices of the Christian calendar asked what all the fuss was about and wasn't this whole giving-up-thing a bit too over the top. I found myself explaining with a great deal of passion that to give up something familiar and replace it with a focus on God -- if only for a few moments a day -- was an incredible experience. And in the midst of the explanation I knew that Lent isn't just an empty ancient ritual. There's meaning in the absence of . . . (in my case) sweetness, and I plan on enjoying each morsel.