Happy Lent, everyone! How is your Lent going so far? Me, I can't complain. (Because I gave up complaining for Lent.) Here is my Lenten reflection for the day:
Last night Anna Banana II and I met some other people at an Indian restaurant, where we only had appetizers, and I had dessert while she had a mango lassi. Then we went to the local German restaurant for dinner because hey, on Mardi Gras (literally, "Fat Tuesday"), why not be decadent and eat twice? The German restaurant, oddly enough, has become something of a Mardi Gras mecca, but we did find a parking space fairly quickly. It took a little longer to find a seat, but we ended up sitting next to a raucous table that included MY choir director and some others from the choir who regularly patronize that restaurant. They gave us shots that were vodka and tabasco sauce and were impressed by our stoic responses to them. We got lots of beads and lots of Cajun food, most of which we were too full to eat after our Indian adventure. A Cajun band provided live music, and we had hurricanes in commemorative Bacardi Gras glasses.
And why I am I telling you all this? Because Mardi Gras would be meaningless if it were not followed by Ash Wednesday. In college I had a friend who wanted to find a holiday to celebrate every day, but I argued that if every day is special, then no day is. Mardi Gras is not about meaningless hedonism, but one last celebration before plunging into the deeply spiritual season of Lent. I love Mardi Gras and celebrate it every year, not because shiny plastic beads and silly drinks are so great for their own sake but because it is a sort of "bon voyage" party before I set out on a spiritual journey. And shouldn't every important journey start and end with a party? Of course, the party afterwards, when you have successfully made the journey, is even better. That's called Easter.
If you think giving up things for Lent is silly, try giving up that one indulgence of yours, say word game puzzles or salsa music or ePlush, for forty days. When you get to do it again, it will not feel like an addiction but like a celebration. Remember, if Jesus died for you, you can forego some chocolate for him.