Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Not Really Religious, But I Gave Up Bread For Lent.

Let me start out by saying that I am not a model Catholic, nor do I claim to be. I haven't gone to church in quite some time. In fact, I don't really follow any specific religious guidelines. Yes, I believe there is something greater than us, but I'm not sure what, exactly. I respect people's decision to practice whichever religion they choose to. Sometimes, I will even ask questions regarding a religion I am unfamiliar with, because I love to learn. Everyone has varying beliefs on this topic, and I respect that. I am a kind person who tries to help people out whenever I can, and I always try to do the right thing.

With that said, the one part of my Roman Catholic upbringing that has actually stuck with me, has been giving up something I enjoy from Ash Wednesday, until Easter Sunday, during Lent. Forty days and forty nights of abstaining from something I thoroughly enjoy. For those who are unaware of what Lent is - here is an explanation, via Wikipedia.

When I was a child, my brother and I often gave up candy for Lent. One year, my aunt, uncle and cousins had come to visit us in Florida, during Lent. They are Jewish, so when we had gone out to the store, my cousins had picked out candy. My younger brother and I looked on, with sad faces, longing to have Airheads and Reese's Pieces. When my nine-year-old cousin, Brett, had asked why I wasn't eating candy, my mother explained to him what my brother and I were doing. He was amazed we were going to be candy-less children for over a month. While I watched my cousins eat their sweet treats, I envisioned eating the head off of my chocolate bunny on Easter Sunday. My mom makes homemade chocolate bunnies, and they are still to this day, the best part of our Easter baskets. Yes, my mom still makes me an Easter basket. I am definitely not complaining!

So, here I am, almost thirty, and still giving something up for Lent. Why do I do it? Because its hard, and to be honest, it totally sucks. To me, its about sticking to your guns, not giving in, and following through with something. By the second week, I am usually cranky, craving what I can't have, but once Easter hits, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

I totally forgot today was Ash Wednesday, but when I passed the church by my house, and saw it was swamped at 845a on a Wednesday, I knew what was going on. My friend, Michele, had said she was giving up chips, and Joann said "See you in 40 days, Facebook!" I had to give up something I really loved. While grocery shopping after our morning run, I told my friend Liz that I was giving up bread for Lent.

Photo Credit: Bagel Boss
Now, how did I wind up choosing to give up bread? Well, two foods I enjoy are cheese and bread. I have given up cheese in the past, but bread was far too hard for me to part with. No bread  = no pitas/pita chips, flatbread, sandwiches, pizza, bagels, biscuits, muffins, tortillas/tortilla chips, burritos, plus a bunch of other things I can't think of off the top of my head. Fridays are also meat free, with the exception of fish. I try to remember this, but I often forget this. Maybe I'll write "no meat" on my calendar, so I remember.

As I was trying to find pictures for this entry, I found myself staring at loaves of sourdough and baguettes, longing for some artisan cheese to pair with it. Oh, how I wish I had gone to Whole Foods last week, to get some bread and cheese! I feel bad for Erich -  he is going to have to listen to my cries over the lack of bread in my life. Maybe I should buy him some ear plugs..

Photo Credit: The Village VOICE

This is going to be a loooooong forty days.



  1. We forget what lent truly means.we use the time immediately prior to Easter to reflect on Christ's Passion and Death.Christ's entering the desert to fast for 40 days, where He was tempted by the devil.

    It is a time to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, reminding us of what our destiny would be without Christ

    In between, we abstain from meat on Fridays as a small sacrifice we offer to God. We fast and give up something to mirror Christ’s sacrifice as he walked alone in the desert and fasted for 40 days. Also during Lent we work more at daily prayer with God, and giving to others.

    Then we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, Easter Sunday.

    Yes Michele, you will get your Easter basket as you do every year. I am thankful you still follow some of the beliefs you were brought up with.

    Yes there is a higher being, there has to be just look around us and see the marvels of the world.

  2. I use this recent social debatable issue as an example to illustrate that people's views will always be different and by denying them or insisting they be eradicated only serves to poignantly declare conformism to the opposite viewpoint.