Here’s the deal: Living simply for Lent

February 22nd, 2007

Yesterday marked the first day of Lent, one of my favorite times of the year.

Lent always begins the same way for me. For the two weeks before Ash Wednesday I ponder what to give up and what to take out of my normal life.

I contemplate all of the “normal” Lenten resolutions – such as giving up chocolate or television.

Last year, I gave up coffee.

Now, if you know me, you also know that I am pretty much addicted to coffee.

I love it. Plain and simple.

The first grueling week of experiencing terrible headaches due to the lack of caffeine was tuff. But after that, the no coffee thing did not seem that bad.

I did make one big mistake during Lent last year.

I told my family and friends what I was going to give up. Bad idea.

Each day, for the entire 40 days, at least one person commented about how difficult it must be to have no coffee or how grouchy I must be. Let me tell you, I was not grouchy, but then again, maybe I was.

It felt like everyone had this crazy amount of sympathy for me.

I just gave up coffee, it wasn’t like I gave up oxygen.

I quickly realized that Lent had lost its meaning. Or rather, I had unintentionally forced Lent to lose its meaning.

For this Lenten season I decided to change things up a little bit.

I decided to add something to my life in addition to taking something away.

This Lent I have decided to try and live a simpler life (Campus Ministry’s theme for Lent is living simply). I have decided to follow the words of Gandhi, who once said, “Live simply, so others may simply live.”

Now, I am not going to disclose exactly what my own Lenten resolutions will be, I made that mistake last year.

I will give some suggestions of resolutions that might make the life of a typical college student simpler throughout the next 40 days.

My personal favorite Lenten resolution is giving up Facebook.

If you check Facebook every time you check your JCU e-mail account (which for me is about every ten minutes) than this might be the perfect thing for you to give up.

Think about how much extra time you would have if you did not spend an endless amount of time reading new feed updates about every person you know.

Instead of finding out your best friends “status,” spend some time hanging out with them.

Are you are a connoisseur of hot beverages like I am? Instead of giving up that beverage all together, maybe you could give up purchasing that beverage from a fine establishment such as Starbucks.

Instead of paying close to $4 for a latte, put the money aside to donate to a charity at the end of Lent.

If you would rather consume a cold beverage on say a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night (you know what I am talking about), maybe you could think about giving up that pleasure for Lent.

Remember the reason for the season.

I know that this is a common theme for the Christmas season, but it can easily pertain to Lent. Remember why we add or subtract something from our lives.

For this Lenten season, remember to live simply.