A reader recently asked me to post a follow-up to my blog “New Year’s Resolution Year End,” and seeing as today is the last day of February, I felt it would be a good time to check in on the topic. The other evening though, my husband brought home an article from The Hamilton Spectator (penned by Jenée Osterheldt) entitled “Lent is not just about chocolate.” My beloved is always keeping his thinking cap on in order to assist me with blog topics, and he thought Lent would be a great one for this week’s slot.
Although I had my heart set on addressing the New Year’s resolution request, I realized he might be on to something, once I read the article. Previously, Lent and New Year’s resolutions were, in my mind, like distant cousins related by potential failure, lack of follow-through and misguided intentions. Is Lent just the Christian-folk’s way of taking another stab at their failed New Year’s resolutions? Is it like a “do-over” for them? or is it a completely unrelated penance?
Holy negativity Batman!
Blame it on the fact that today was housecleaning day, but, I am feeling a little ornery . . . and sweaty . . . and hungry . . . and I cannot go upstairs to address my discomfort because the floors are still wet. In true Veronica form, I digress.
I am not setting out to offend anyone with my opinion, but hope that you’ll sit back and think about it for a moment. My goal is always to provoke thought—not cause offense. Bear with me as I steal my motto for challenging people’s thoughts and habits, by bastardizing Star Trek’s famous opening lines:
Thought, the final frontier. These are the voyages of challenging what you believe. It’s a lifelong mission: to explore strange new opinions, to seek out new ideals and new beliefs, to boldly go where your ego has never gone before.
Corny as it may seem . . . I think I’m a little proud of myself for that one. (I’m actually giggling.)
The article from The Spec originally appeared in the Kansas City Star, and there was one passage that literally made me snort when I read it.
“This stretch from Ash Wednesday to Easter was created back in A.D.325 to honour the 40 days when Jesus fasted in the desert and endured the devil’s temptations. How does giving up a caramel flan latte pay respect to that?”
The latte reference is the part that made me snort. To be honest, I really didn’t know much about Lent—so I was enlightened by that brief, yet effective, definition. The latte comment, however, really drove home how the vast majority of our society (those who participate in the religious tradition, that is) skew the true intention of the observance. I get how Christmas and Easter have been tailored to suit the masses: non-Christians participate in the Santa (or bunny) aspect; and Christians recognize the Jesus part. I get that. What I do not get, is how the intention of Lent has become so diluted by its participants.
As I mentioned in my “Christmas Carol” blog, I raised my daughter with what, I felt, was the true meaning of giving during that season; but I never really honed in on the religious part of it. You can’t teach what you don’t know . . . right? Wrong. You can always learn.
So now, I am faced with participating in my granddaughter’s upbringing with regards to these traditions and observances. “Other grandma” is a dedicated churchgoer and spiritual woman, so I could leave it up to her to give our grandchild the Christ part of things. That would be the easy way out. Unfortunately though, I don’t know if she’s a latte-Lent person or a Christ-Lent person and it’s none of my business to ask, either. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a non-latte-Lent person before, which is probably why I never really educated myself on the purpose of the observance. Well, now I’ve been enlightened, so now I feel as though I have a responsibility to ensure that my little grandcherub understands and respects the true meaning of it all.
I have read Osterheldt’s article a couple times now, and it really made me go “hmmm.” If you currently only participate in a latte-Lent lifestyle, I hope you’ll read her article. If you choose to do something more “Christ-ish” and less “latte-ish,” I honestly don’t think Jesus will begrudge you making a Lent change mid-swing. If he did, that wouldn’t be very Godly of him, would it?
If you don’t change your ways for Jesus’ sake, maybe you’ll consider how many talented latte artists will be out of work because of your sacrifice. You have a social responsibility to keep the artisans employed. And so, for that, I dedicate this blog to them—the un-sung heroes of latte artistry.
I’m just sayin’ . . .