If I had a dollar for every time I wrote a reflection about the importance of Lent and Jesus giving his life for us on the cross during my Catholic school career, I’d be writing this from a hammock in Hawaii.
I was thinking today (always a crapshoot) about Lent and realized that it comes at a perfectly less-than-desirable time. Think about it, winter has been here too long, a little kiddo in a brown vest just coaxed you into spending $3 too much on each box of the 50 boxes of Thin Mints that you signed your soul away for, and now you have to stuff ‘em into the freezer for the next 40 days but you can’t find room because your freezer is already full of FISH STICKS because it’s now Lent.
And then I ate a Snickers and realized how hungry I was when I thought that, so I calmed down and realized that this is the point. (It wasn’t a Snickers. Snickers aren’t on our meal plan.)
If Lent was in July, it would be easy to give up chocolate, coffee, desserts, etc. In the summer we run around outside eating fruit and absorbing vitamin D and living the life, so if we were to give a few things up, it probably wouldn’t make a big impact. But in this wintry time when it seems like you’ll never feel warmth ever again, fasting is hard. If you’re anything like me, food is comforting when it’s dark and cold outside.
However, the somewhat dreary weather helps to focus on Jesus’ suffering. That sounds morbid, I know, like why would you want to dwell on that? Without going too theologically deep, I think it’s important to feel solemnity during Holy Week because it makes Easter sweeter, and the weight of the cross more significant.
Then it’s great because Easter arrives when spring is beginning to stretch its arms and the sun is invited back to the universe and we can all celebrate Jesus’ love for us in the flowers and sunshine. It’s literally a light at the end of a fish stick tunnel. I try to appreciate Lent because it’s a challenge that unites us with the reason why we get eternal life. I figure that as long as my mind and heart are in the right place, then God gets it. He’s cool that way.
And here’s some more food for thought: Are Girl Scout cookies really that good, or is it just exciting to get them because they’re otherwise extinct for the rest of the year? Are we being punk’d by Girl Scouts? Did they intentionally pick this time of year for delivery? Perfect for post-Valentine breakups and just in time for Mardi Gras so you can scarf them all down one sleeve at a time? Am I over-analyzing things? Are Girl Scouts playing mind tricks on me? Can they hear me now? What was in that chicken sandwich I just ate?
In all seriousness, taking on a religious subject is daunting because it would take me weeks to craft a mere quarter of my ideas and beliefs on the topic. But that’s okay because this is no school assignment and there are no expectations for what I write here and this is basically just me spitting out what flows through my head. And really fish sticks are delicious.