This is a more overtly religious post than I've done before but that's okay.
When I was five or six, I went over to a friend's house to play. There was a Bible on her table and we played a game where we would open it up, put our finger down and memorize the scripture that we touched.
It's kind of a weird game for a kid to play and I really have no idea why we thought that was fun. That day, my finger fell on this scripture:
Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of working with several wonderful women, many of whom happen to be Catholic -- staunch Catholics! Because these women were so faithful, we had several opportunities to discuss religion, comparing notes and testimonies.
One of the things I love most about my religion is that it teaches us that truth can be found in many places. In fact, one of the most delightful things I've learned is that truth is often found in unexpected places. I try to keep my eyes and ears open to truth and listen to the Spirit within me, testifying that what I've heard or seen is true.
Of course, this is the time of year when many Christian denominations, most notably to me - Catholics - celebrate Lent. My first experience with Lent was actually with a non-Catholic. A favorite co-worker who practiced no religion announced she was giving up something for Lent. I was a little surprised, having gotten the impression that she deemed those practitioners of Established Religion to be little more than sheep. (A rather apt analogy since the Lord is our Shepherd.)
Still, she gave up something - chocolate probably - and I watched her with awe as she worked her way through the 40 days. At the end, when I saw her mastery of self, I was impressed. And then I wondered why I couldn't be like that - why I wasn't like that. Later, other people came into my life who also practiced self-denial during Lent and I considered more and more how much good that would do me.
A little aside here: I am uncomfortable with the world's definition of sacrifice being equivalent to a type of abasement or self-flagellation. The word sacrifice actually comes from two words: sacer (“sacred, holy”), + faciō (“do, make”). Therefore, to sacrifice is to do something holy. It elevates the word from a deprivation to a sacrament. I don't deny myself so much as I do something to elevate myself.
My miniscule understanding of Lent, especially as seen through the lens of my own religion, seems to me to be a time where you let go of something that stands between you and the Savior so that you can become closer to Him. Hello, Truth! I like the idea of doing it for forty days. It gives me a feeling that I am practicing letting go of my sin. I might choose to take it back up again, but I'm giving myself a trial run at being better, to feel how it is being unburdened by the bad.
I'm choosing to "celebrate" Lent by giving up Diet Pepsi. That is not the biggest sin I have, but it is the one I am willing to give a trial run. In addition to giving up something (my sin of commission), I think I want to add something to my life to help me become closer to Christ, to remedy a sin of omission. I'm still a little unsure of what it will be exactly, but it will include some sort of exercise. You know, the body is a temple and all that... (And putting it all on the blog gives me an accountability that I lack otherwise.)
I love my Savior and I know that He loves me. Hopefully, I can show Him my love just a little better by doing more of the things I know to be right and am just too lazy to do. This year it is Diet Pepsi. Hopefully, next year I will let go of a sin I'm holding on to a little more tightly.
To soothe my soul through this truly harrowing experience (cough, cough), I will let my light shine and do art. Stay tuned for more on this particular piece later this week... (if I'm not in the hospital from Diet Pepsi withdrawals!)