The Lent

As Jesus withdrew and wandered in the wilderness for 40 days, the Lent season is meant to prepare the Christian believer for the Easter season. Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, February 17th and ends April 3, the day before Easter (the 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays).

Self-denial or abstinence is often the major focus of Lent, and many people find convenient things to give up in order to satisfy the abstinence requirement. For instance, I had a lot of medical problems last year and was visiting the emergency room on a semi-regular basis. When Lent finally rolled around, I decided to give up emergency room visits, albeit rather conveniently.

My sister and her husband took Lent one step further. They actually (gulp) gave up television for the entire Lent season. They even went so far as to cut off their cablevision, thereby negating any inclination or opportunity to “cheat”. I was so proud of them, until I walked into their house and saw the big purple dinosaur Barney on TV. I waved my finger back and forth at my sister, attempting to shame her.

“What?”

“The TV is on.”

“We gave up television.”

“Then what’s that?”

“Barney and Friends.”

“Yeah. It’s on TV.”

“No, it’s a video.”

“Same thing.”

“No. Different.”

“How?”

“It’s a movie.”

“And you’re watching it.”

“No, Madeline is watching it.”

“Well, you’re in the room.”

“I’m supervising my child.”

“You are watching the TV.”

As you can probably imagine, it digressed into a rather messy conversation about commitment, jealousy, youngest child syndrome (that’s me) and our “issues” with our parents. I eventually relented and apologized, and finally agreed that watching a Barney video with Madeline is not the same thing as “watching television”.

And honestly, I’m proud of them for cutting off their cable and seeing it through for the Lent season. I honestly don’t think I could do it. I love television too much, I really do. Television has been a friend to me when I’m sick at home, and a comforter when I was post-op and heavily medicated. There’s nothing like great television programming to soothe even the most disruptive child, or husband.

Giving something up for Lent is a personal decision, and I have thought long and hard about what I’m going to give up this year. My husband and I reallyenjoy watching the Food Network while we eat dinner (similar to those who indulge in adult programming while indulging in adult activities, I’m sure); and after much debate, we decided that we are going to give it up for Lent. We are going to set, and then sit at the table and eat. We are going to have meaningful conversations and stare into each other’s eyes while we eat.

Should be interesting.

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