I went to church yesterday, with the entire brood, and as I sat listening to a small talk about Lent, I thought: why don't I give stuff up for Lent? Being raised Mormon, of course, we didn't do this Lent business, but now that my daughter is in Catholic school and bopping all over the house crossing herself, I figure I should have a go at it. I'm making it sound like I'm cavalier about it or making fun of it. That's not the case at all. I admit to not understanding it all exactly, having attended Episcopalian services only once (yesterday).
BUT, any sermon that is based on a Hemingway novel (yesterday's was), gets me at hello. Add a living historic church, wooden pews, traditional hymns and not one raised-hand, pair of khaki pants or man-guitar-band, and I'm willing to sign on the dotted line. I can't remember the last time I attended church services and actually wanted to hear the sermon. I mean, I wanted my son (sitting in my lap) to hush up about coloring and being bored so I could hear. I want to listen. Usually, even pre-kids, as soon as a sermon begins I start a mental grocery list or daydreaming about expensive and fabulous vacations.
I was beginning to think I just wasn't religious.
But yesterday, sitting next to a window with a view of the old bell, which rang before we began service, and smelling the smells of generations of people who had gone before me, I wanted to listen, I felt inspired and I was thoughtful about not only what was being said but what it was that keeps me trying (and trying) to find a church where I fit in and feel comfortable.
So, when the notion of Lent was broached, I listened. Turns out, you are supposed to give something up, and then you're supposed to use the money you would otherwise use on that item (wine, chocolate, gambling) and give it back to the church/needy.
I really love that idea. My sister's father-in-law says, "Ya, but who actually does that?"
Well, I'm going to. For the entire season of Lent (I'm still unsure as to the exact dates), I'm giving up dessert.
I know. That's big.
I'll figure up how much I would have spent on all my sweet treats, and then I'm putting it in the collection plate at the end of Lent.
It may only be $50, but I think there is something in the act of giving up, paying attention and giving back that feeds our soul.
What are you giving up for Lent?