Today I had coffee. Since I gave up coffee for Lent, does that make drinking the coffee a sin?
I usually don’t have problems giving things up for Lent. I’ve chosen sweets, bread, meat, Diet Coke and many other things over the years. I always manage to make it to Easter without cheating.
This year is different.
I’ve been hyperventilating over money and it came down to a decision between breaking my diet, going on another spending spree, or having a pot of coffee. I had the coffee. And, yes, I literally mean that I drank an entire pot of coffee.
God will just have to forgive me.
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I am a non-practicing Catholic. I don’t attend mass. I don’t belong to a church. Actually, I don’t even know where the closest Catholic church is. But I still consider myself to be Catholic; I guess I always will. And it’s more than just habit. I looked into other religions and decided that Catholicism suited me best, even in the nominal non-practicing way I I have it in my life.
Every year I observe Lent. I do this for two reasons: because, despite my shortcomings, I do still consider myself to be Catholic; and, because I join the rest of my family in this yearly ritual.
Every year I give up something for Lent. I put thought into what that “something” is because I want it to be an act that’s going to have an impact. It’s not something small that I won’t miss. It’s something I actually enjoy, crave, delight in on a regular basis. Something that’s going to make me suffer, even if a litte bit. For the period of Lent I deny myself something, and it’s a little bit of an act of faith in myself and in my religion.
Previous years have included giving up meat (I’m not a vegetarian), sweets, bread, Diet Coke and other things. Usually the first two or three weeks are the hardest. But by the time Easter rolls around, I’ve become accustomed to the deprivation.
This year, however, I’m giving up coffee. Coffee. My life’s blood. My most favorite beverage. The thing that keeps me sane. The thing that keeps my mood swings in check enough that I don’t cause damage to others.
I will miss it. I will suffer, more than just a little bit. It will have impact.
The world, however, should worry. I am not going to be pleasant for the next six weeks.