Lent started yesterday, and a friend of mine asked me what I was giving up (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you can learn about Lent here and the art and science of giving something up for it here. Well, I'm ashamed to say that I have no idea. The last few years I refused to give anything up, because over the last few years I've embarked on a self-improvement projet that already involved giving up a lot of my favorite things, like drinking sugary cocktails, eating dessert several times a week, eating whole pizzas at a time and not exercising. But I've been holding onto this for a few years now and am kind of used to it so I don't think I can really claim that I'm giving anything up anymore.
I'm not sure what to give up though. A lot of the oldies but goodies seem kind of trite (plus I've already taken part in them), like swearing, or chocolate. A friend of mine gave up booze and I suppose that could be my fallback but it's easier to claim this on a Monday than a Thursday. (For the record, I was not raised with the belief that you were off the hook on Sundays. You were in for the whole 40 days.) When I was a kid I used to claim that I would give up Nintendo (which was what my brother gave up) until my dad suggested instead that I give up candy, which was much more difficult to abstain from.
One year I gave up reading gossip online which was pretty creative and led to a surprising amount of free time, although I think now I can claim that I have to read online gossip (because if I don't know what the newest poop of American Idol is, I'm not doing my job.)
So I'm hoping for a little inspiration. What were some of the most unique choices you've made (or that you've heard people made--yes, you non-Lent-observers can participate) in terms of giving up something for Lent? And what was the effect? A unique choice is a good one, but one that causes a unique type of suffering is even better.
Email me your stories and suggestions and I'll run them next week and pick one. I suppose you could say that I'm being flippant and not taking Lent seriously enough but I just like to think I'm sparking a theological dialogue. Hopefully a HILARIOUS theological dialogue.