Monday, February 22, 2010

175 Days of Lent...

When I was in grade school I used to envy the kids who were given a half day off every Ash Wednesday. They’d always slide into their desks in the afternoon with a cross of ashes smudged on their foreheads and a vow to give up something for forty days. It was like a secret club. In some ways it was similar to Islam’s Ramadan and Judaism’s Passover in that the Christian kids were instructed to focus on sacrifice and personal introspection. For some reason, Lent always stood out for me, and I think it may have been because, unlike Ramadan and Passover, which tend to focus on the big sacrifices of a group of people, Lent seemed more personal. The Christian kids I knew had to give up a vice, something they loved or were attached to, like grape bubblegum or Atari.  

This week, as Ash Wednesday came and went, I had friends giving up television, facebook, and coffee. After a bad night out on the town, one friend even declared that for Lent she’d decided to throw in the towel and give up hope. 

And then it occurred to me. I’ve been observing my own kind of Lent for 175 days now. Since leaving CNN to move west and carve out a new life, I’ve had to make personal sacrifices all along the way. Gone are the days of regular manicures, pedicures, facials, and highlights. Dining out whenever and wherever I please is no longer an option.  

Nowadays, my world is based on prioritizing, minimizing, and redefining materialism. And I’ve saved a lot of money with that kind of thinking. 

I cook more. I entertain more. I feel healthier than ever, and I’ve found at-home facials really can keep my skin glowing. (I mean, who knew an egg white and a tablespoon of lemon juice could accomplish the same results as a $95 facial?)

For those who persevere through the personal sacrifice that is Lent, the payoff is probably a sort of spiritual cleansing. And maybe they are left with the knowledge that the vice they once thought had a solid grip on them isn’t quite as necessary as they once thought.  

The payoff for the choices I’ve made has been ten-fold. Making sacrifices has allowed me to continue doing the things I’m most passionate about like gardening, seeing live music or heading out for a two-hour hike in the middle of the weekday.  

I’m realizing that all this prioritizing is less about pain and more about clearing a pathway for a brighter and better future for myself - something that, for me, is going to take a lifetime to accomplish, not just forty days. 

(Blogger video troubles. Please click play button to get video to rock n' roll)


  1. Oddly enough, about 20+ years ago, I gave up Lent, the actual "Holiday", and haven't looked back yet! No more dirty foreheads for Kevrs!
    Good to hear that your making the cuts and figuring ways around that lifestyle of grandeur that you were so resplendent in, while living here in the ATL. Ha. Sacrifice comes in many flavors, sometimes it's a choice, but more often then not, it's forced. Either way though, we grow from it, whether by an inch, or like you, a mile. Glad yours is a good thing, keep it going, Bootsie!

  2. Kevrs, thank you. I'm lucky to have friends like you who are so supportive. I miss some of those *regular* vices I used to have but the sacrifice is sooo worth it. I am finding life so much more satisfying and full. :) Signed, your pal Bootsie