According to that fancy device we call a calendar, today is Ash Wednesday. That means today begins the season of Lent. This time period makes up the 40 days preceding Easter. For many people in the Church, it represents a time of sacrifice.
Christians are encouraged to give up some kind of luxury, or even fast, and pray in preparation for the celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. The way I understand it, these 40 days are symbolic of the 40 days which Christ spent in the wilderness. He spent that time praying and fasting to prepare for his ministry, a ministry that would lead to his eventual death on the cross.
Anyone who decides to give something up for Lent must do so prayerfully. The thing that is given up is meant to be a sacrifice. If it isn't sacrificial then what's the point? The point of a sacrifice is that it should remind you to rely upon God to sustain you.
If you're someone who doesn't drink soda and you claim you're giving up soda for Lent, is that really a sacrifice? For some people, soft drinks may not seem like much of a sacrifice. For someone who relies upon caffeine to get through the day, it may feel like a tremendous sacrifice.
I'll admit, I thought about giving up soda. I've freely admitted that I have a pretty severe caffeine addiction. I don't like coffee, so my caffeine comes from roughly two sodas each day. I know it's not what one would call "healthy," but without that fix, I get the headaches. Bad ones. So I decided to find something else to give up for 40 days.
I know there are plenty of folks that wouldn't consider that much of a sacrifice either. But I have to say, for me it kind of is. I won't say I'm addicted to hitting the drive through like I need the caffeine. But I love the convenience.
Living in a place where I don't have full and comfortable access to a kitchen, eating at home isn't always an option. There are so many days when I feel like it's just so much easier to pick something up on the way home from work as opposed to coming up and fixing a sandwich or heating up a frozen pizza. Another wrinkle: I'm a big fan of some french fries.
So that's what I'm giving up. And I know it's bad that today is day one and I really wanted to stop and get a cheeseburger coming home this afternoon. I get hungry on that drive home from the middle of nowhere. Don't worry, I abstained.
BTW, this means that yesterday was Mardi Gras. What's the deal? I was flashin' people all over the place and got nary a bead.