09 March 2011

Lent

I've never celebrated Lent before. (I'm not even sure if "celebrate" is the right word.) As a Mormon, it is not part of my religious experience. I was taught (falsely, I now know) that the purpose of Lent was to help Christian observers begin to understand the period of 40 days in which Jesus fasted. I've always thought that was almost sacrilegious - as if giving up something that we shouldn't be doing/having anyway could really help us fathom any of Christ's suffering. I recently read the Wikipedia article about Lent, and it says that Lent is for preparation of Easter, through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial.

In some ways, I can really see the point. By giving of ourselves, we can draw closer to the Lord. Mormons certainly believe this, we are encouraged to fast at least once per month. I guess the problem I always had was that most people I knew were giving up something that they really shouldn't have anyway, usually in the form of a food - chocolate, coffee, alcohol, etc. Sure, this would be challenging for them, but how would it help them prepare for Easter? How would it strengthen their relationship with Jesus? But in reality, it's not my job to point out whose Lent sacrifices are worthwhile and whose aren't. Lent is a fairly personal thing when it all boils down to it.

About a week ago I decided that I needed to take a break from Facebook. It is a massive time suck for me. I go there when I have nothing to do. Then I get there and think, "Wow, I do not care about what most of these people are doing." Or else I think, "I wish somebody cool had something worthwhile to say." There are a handful of people that regularly say interesting things or share interesting links or who put up pictures I want to see, but on the whole I was finding that I was spending a lot of time on Facebook and leaving its pages very unsatisfied. So I've given it up for Lent.

Only, it's not really for Lent because it is entirely for personal reasons rather than religious. I don't expect that I will draw closer to my Savior through this sacrifice. (Unless I decided to spend all my ordinary Facebook time in service, scripture study and prayer, which, to be honest, is not really my plan.) The period of Lent just happens to coincide with a time when I need to be stepping away from pointless time-wasting things and focusing on more important things.

Plus, they say it takes about 30 days to break a habit (or is it 30 days to start a habit?). I figure that 40 days ought to be enough for me to stop habitually going to Facebook every time I'm bored.

Hopefully in the mean time I will finally write down the insightful blog posts that have been in my head for weeks. Maybe I'll get going on packing so that our upcoming move isn't 100% drudgery. I'll try to finally type up the notes I took last year on my great-grandfather's book. I'll cook more. I'll read more. All in all, I'll do things that actually matter.

4 comments:

The Everitts said...

Tiera Everitt "likes" this post.

P1 Steven said...

I read this first thing this morning.... right after I checked Facebook

Jenny said...

For lent, I'm adding insightful thoughts and introspection to the menu.
I am always tickled by the charcoal smudges when I see them on that first Wednesday of Lent!

Marcindra LaPriel said...

I'm also observing Lent this year. (Also, not my first.) I gave up procrastination and it has be AWESOME! I've already replaced the light bulb from the fridge that's been burned out for months. I glued my Bible cover back on...and that's been broken for about eight years. GO LENT!