Lent teaches us to learn to sacrifice. We’re asked to give something up. We’re asked to abstain from meat (well, land animals) on Fridays. And we’re asked to fast on Good Friday … which is today.
I’m not too happy that Clockwork Alchemy is Easter Weekend, but I understand that it’s not everyone’s holiday (and that this may have been the best weekend we could get). But I get it.
That doesn’t absolve me of my responsibilities, though. I don’t fully fast as a matter of policy – I don’t think it’s healthy to go starving your body – but I eat light on fasting days, just enough that my body gets food.
The choice tonight was particularly hard, though: the restaurant had cauliflower steak, one of my favorite meals. It would have been so easy to order that as being somehow “healthier” than other options.
But it wouldn’t have been fasting. And, as a favorite, it would have been a gluttonous choice, so, reluctantly, I got the rather smaller hummus plate and had that as my meal.
Christians do these things to remind us of Jesus’s suffering, but the Church doesn’t want to remind us of Jesus for Jesus’s sake – he doesn’t need it. No, they want to remind us of Jesus’s sacrifice for our own good.
Learning to sacrifice during Lent is like cross-training your moral muscles: it helps you exercise your decision making on small things, so that muscle can be used properly when we face larger things.
Tonight, for example, I was able to call upon that muscle to help me make the right choices. After dining with my friends, I reluctantly bid them adieu, and went to go deal with my missing costume.
I’d forgotten part of it, recall, and had to drive 45 minute to get it. But when I did so … remember what I said about knowing you’re doing the right thing when you end up being where you need to be?
A package had arrived – a trellis, purchased to help save the branches of a beloved tree. A package far too large for our house sitter, who has hurt her back. A package that almost certainly would have been stolen.
So, doing what I needed to do that evening may have helped me be where I needed to be to save the package from the neighborhood’s package thieves, for starters, but there was much more.
These are little things, but every time I do the right thing and am rewarded for it, it seems to become just a little bit easier to do the right thing again the next time.
Pictured: tonight’s hummus, my cauliflower steak, and the late-arriving trellis package.