I'm Lutheran (as are Brad and the rest of my family), not Catholic, but in my younger years, I tried and failed to give up a variety of things for Lent. The last time I made such a 40-day attempt was probably college and it probably lasted about 2 days. But Brad reminded me this morning of a particularly ridiculous story from 8th or 9th grade that I'd shared with him at some point, and it's serving as a bit of motivation:
|Oh, Lays, how I love thee!|
So, circa 1996, I decide to give up potato chips for Lent. I'm going strong. We're reaching the 20-day mark, then the 30-day mark, then 35 days. Somewhere in these last 5 or so days, however, I begin to get desperate. The chips, you see, have not disappeared from my house since I began my "chip fast." (Sounds like Slimfast made of chips. Ick. And yes, Amanda and I used to drink Slimfast. We also used to run 3 or 4 times a week. What can I say? Bad and good habits just seem to disappear . . . ). Instead, they're just hanging around in the cupboard longer b/c, although my mom and dad eat chips, they don't harbor an out-of-control love the way I do.
Day 36 or thereabouts, things start to get dicey. I miss my snack. I've got a mad craving for some flat, fried potato. I take a bag of Snyder's barbeque up to my room. Stare at it awhile. It's me vs. the chips. The chips are winning. I open the bag and sniff. Dear goodness, this is what dreams are made of. I turn away. Must be strong. But they're calling me. I reach my hand in and pull out a chip. It feels so crisp and delightful. Only. Four. More. Days. I sniff the chip. It's everything I remember and more.
And then, the moment of truth: I lick the potato chip. Yes, I did. I licked it, tasted the delicious barbeque flavor, breathed in the smoky aroma. And then recoiled in horror at my weakness. Okay, not quite a recoil in horror, but a shameful dropping of the chip to my lap. I continued no further, and if I remember correctly, I finished out the 40 days without actually eating a chip. It was a flawed effort, but my best to date.
This year, I've decided to tackle a biggie: no swearing. I know there will be screw-ups along the way. In fact, there have been 5 already this morning/afternoon. (And that's only those that I was cognizant of. Surely there were more.) But, I'm not going to quit trying even though the words seem to just fly out of my mouth. This chickadee's gonna clean up her language over the next 6 weeks. At the very least, she's gonna try really, really hard.