Posted on | February 12, 2013 | 11 Comments
Not so technically, “Fat Tuesday” is all about stuffing your face. It’s the most American of all the not really American holidays… a symphony of gluttony before the fasting of Lent.
I grew up Southern Baptist, so Lent was something that other people did… you know, the ::whispers:: Catholics. But as I got older, I started to embrace the idea of giving up something unhealthy for forty days… giving up something you shouldn’t have started in the first place… just to make yourself healthier, your body a little healthier for the miracle of Easter. So sometime in my mid to late twenties, I wrapped my arms around Lent and claimed it for my own, taking “Fat Tuesday” as a day to say goodbye to bad habits and bad juju and say hello to living, speaking and gosh darn being a little bit cleaner.
Every year, I give up soda for Lent. Every year. It’s just what I do… sort of like my co-worker who always gives up cussing or my friend who always gives up chocolate. We all pick it right back up after Easter, but for forty blissfilled (or not so much) days, we are just a tad bit cleaner of tongue or, well… bowel.
This year, I’m doing something different. This year, yes, I’m still giving up soda, but I’m also going to use the next forty days to cleanse a little bit more than just carbonation from my body. I’m going to use Lent this year to purify my heart, to cleanse some of the complaints and feelings of disgruntlement and hatred right out of me. I’m going to spend the next forty days being proud of who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. I’m going to spend forty days not focusing on what’s wrong or bad or stupid, but only on what is good and right and kind.
No news channels.
No yelling at the ex about this or that.
No anger towards the puppy who just this morning ate my favorite pair of shoes.
No sighs, no grumbles, no gossip, no venom.
Just forty days of being content in who and where I am. Just forty days of turning the other cheek, rising above the fray, and feeling good about my life just because it’s mine.
It is the hardest task I’ve ever undertaken… it may be the toughest journey I’ve ever started. To disregard my own human nature, to set aside my constant undercurrent of “this just sucks”… to be wholly and universally content with each moment as it comes.
It’s going to be an adventure.
It’s going to be a struggle.
But it’s forty days…. how hard can it be?